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S. Korea to expand investment in 'smart' retail solutions

2017/12/07 11:00

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SEOUL, Dec. 7 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will increase investment in "smart" retail solutions based on advanced technology, including artificial intelligence (AI) and big data, to provide customized services and better meet consumer needs, the commerce ministry said Thursday.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said it will invest 17 billion won (US$15.5 million) in the next five years to support research and development (R&D) efforts in the retail industry.

The fund will support promising projects, including big data infrastructure for shopping information, customized service utilizing AI and virtual reality shopping, the ministry said.

The digital revolution has accelerated global change in the retail industry as leading players, including Amazon and Alibaba, have developed new business models based on increased use of big data and networks for customized, convenient shopping experiences.

Local retailers have tried to follow up the latest trend, but experts have called for concerted efforts with information and communications sectors to come up with advanced shopping solutions.

"We hope the new budget will pave the way for companies to rev up R&D investment to revolutionize the retail industry to compete with global companies," Lee Dong-wook, a ministry official, said.