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New center to lay foundation for big data industry
SEOUL, May 10 (Yonhap) -- A new government center set to open this year will help the nation's lackluster big data industry catch up with global tech giants such as Google Inc. and Inc., the science ministry said Friday.

   The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning said it will work with the state-run National Information Society Agency (NIA) to build the nation's first center that allows anyone to refine and analyze big data -- a term used to describe massive amounts of information that are used to detect patterns and answer complex business questions.

   The project is in line with President Park Geun-hye's "creative economy" vision that calls for using information technology as a main tool for economic growth.

   The ministry estimated that South Korea's big data technology may be two to five years behind that of global tech companies such as Google and Amazon, lacking the proper infrastructure and experience to thrive in the relatively new but promising field.

   The ministry said the new service is catered toward small and medium enterprises, venture businesses, universities and citizens that wish to try their hands at this new tech phenomenon to answer their business or research questions.

   The developer of the service's hardware and software will be handpicked through a competitive selection process by next month, the ministry said. The basic web platform for the service will be completed by August for a test run in September, it added.

   The new center, set to take residence in the NIA building, will also connect its online platform with the government's data portal service, which stores national statistics and other public information.

   "We expect our new center to become a 'test bed' for big data-related businesses and a means to foster researchers at universities," a ministry official said. "We're planning to create a basic solution so that anyone can use our service to analyze big data."