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  • 2021 Action Plan for Digital New Deal


    The government has adopted the 2021 action plan for "Digital New Deal", which is a key pillar of the Korean New Deal initiative at the first Korean New Deal Ministers' Meeting  in the new year.


    Digital New Deal is a national innovation project that invests a total of 58.2 trillion won (44.8 trillion won in government spending) by 2025 to accelerate digital transformation of the Korean economy and society and create about 900,000 jobs.


    After launching projects with about 2.4 trillion won, as part of the third supplementary budget of 2020, the government has strived to overcome the economic crisis and take a leap forward as a leading country through strengthening the data, network, artificial intelligence (D.N.A) ecosystem, promoting contactless industries and digitalizing education and social overhead capital (SOC).


    The key pillars of the 2021 plan are to upgrade the D.N.A (Data, Network, AI) economic structure, establish a foundation for non-contact industries, and digitalize SOC (social overhead capital).


    Born2Global Centre continues to play a role in this national innovation project by matching respective deep tech startups and supporting these companies in their growth and expansion to global markets.


    The 2021 action plan for Digital New Deal policy is as follows.



    I. Plan for 2021

    In order to transform Korea into a leading country, invest a total of 7.6 trillion won in Digital New Deal projects such as upgrading D.N.A. economic structure, expanding contactless infrastructure and digitalizing SOC
    - Establish a legal and institutional framework while creating tangible outcomes for the public, facilitate participation from the private sector and regional entities

    1. Upgrade D.N.A. economic structure
    (Invest 5.2 trillion won in government spending for 2021)

    1. Promote the collection, sharing and use of data 

         - Strengthen the entire data life cycle and improve legislation for promoting innovation in all industries based on data


    · Collect and share data

    Promote the use of data in public and private sectors by collecting additional 150 types of "data for AI training" (292.5 billion won) such as the letters of the Korean alphabet to advance AI for Korean language, making 44,000 government data open (cumulative 142,000 data) and establishing six additional big data platforms

    · Use data 

    Establish the informatization plan (ISP) to create an integrated platform for digital library, so that companies can utilize D.N.A. by supporting AI manufacturing consulting solutions, industrial data platform and providing data vouchers. The plan also ensures that anyone can readily access and use the national knowledge platform to promote knowledge sharing and dissemination.

    · Improve legislation 

    Create a data control tower based on public and private partnership which oversees policies in data collection, application and utilization by the government to facilitate innovation in all data-based industries and improve legislation such as legislating basic act on data

    2. Apply 5G and AI to all sectors 

         - Promote services that apply 5G and AI to industries to create new digital markets

    ·Build 5G network

    In order to establish 5G network at an early date, which will serve as the foundation for convergence services, include 5G equipments on the list for tax duction(+2%p) for commercializing technologies in new growth engines, continue to cut taxes and registration license taxes for investing in 5G facilities in districts where overpopulation is constrained within the metropolitan area

    ·Apply AI to all industries 

    By implementing major seven AI+X projects* and follow-up legislation tasks** of "the roadmap on improving AI legal framework" (Dec. 2020), respond to convergence and spread of AI, construct 6,000 smart factories and develop level 4 autonomous driving technologies (2021~2027, a total of 1.1 trillion won put into projects)
    * ① medical image analysis and treatment ② pandemic response ③ coastline ④ensure industry complexes are energy-efficient ⑤ detect illegal forgeries ⑥ innovate regional flagship industries ⑦ promote public safety
    ** Set criteria for algorithm disclosure, legislate act on digital inclusiveness to ensure fair access to digital technologies, revise copyright laws to allow data mining, establish the roadmap for innovating regulations on self-driving vessels etc.

    3. Create an intelligent government

          - Innovate services of the government based on AI, blockchain and cloud to provide administrative services in a preemptive and customized way

    ·Services with tangible outcomes for the public 

    Establish the "platform for digital driver's license" (10.8 billion won) which makes identification easier, and expand "AI secretary service" from nine to 39 services, which notifies and guides users to register and pay for public services through messaging apps

    ·Smart government 

    Conduct pilot projects (11.5 billion won) in five agencies to convert government administrative work to be digital based on 5G network, gradually relocate and integrate 9,500 information systems to public and private cloud centers to provide public service (51 billion won) in a stable and efficient manner

    4. Digital innovation technologies and companies

        - To take initiative in the next-generation global digital market, support development of cutting-edge technologies such as 6G, next-generation AI, hologram and relevant companies

    ·Innovative technologies

    Develop 6G technologies overcoming the limits of existing technologies as well as key technologies including AI semiconductor designs, devices, equipments and processes (122.3 billion won)

    ·Innovative companies

    Raise "Smart Korea Fund" worth over one trillion won and invest in companies in zero-contact industries, identify 200 promising startups in contactless industries and provide 30 billion won for commercialization funding, while also providing 200 "AI solution vouchers" (56 billion won) for developing new businesses

    2. Establish foundation for contactless industry
    (Invest 0.6 trillion won in government spending for 2021)

    1. Digitalize education 

         - Establish a sustainable and stable infrastructure for digital transformation of future education encompassing elementary, middle, high schools, universities and vocational training centers

    ·Improve system 

    Legislate the Framework Act on Promoting Remote Education (proposed in February) and revise the “guideline for use of copyrighted works for educational purposes” to expand the scope of using copyrighted works for the purposes of primary and secondary education

    ·Create learning-friendly environment

    Install high-performance Wi-Fi to cumulative 270,000 classrooms in elementary and middle schools, provide up to 80,000 tablet PCs to carry out “pilot projects on online content-based textbooks” (12.8 billion won) to realize digital education

    2. Smart healthcare 

         - Establish smart healthcare infrastructure in hospitals for providing safe treatment and carry out healthcare and caregiving programs for the vulnerable

    ·Improve infrastructure 

    Establish 1,000 respiratory clinics (50 billion won) and three smart hospitals (3 billion won) to prevent the spread of infectious diseases and develop “Doctor Answer 2.0” (5 billion won), which is a precision medicine software supporting diagnosis of 12 diseases such as lung cancers

    ·Smart health management 

    Conduct pilot projects on health management using AI and IoT (9.5 billion won) on 50,000 senior citizens, provide self-monitoring devices to 50,000 chronic patients (2.8 billion won) to help maintain healthy lifestyle

    3. Contactless business 

         - Provide more support for online businesses to encourage more people to work from home amid digital transition in the COVID-19 outbreak and raise competitiveness of micro-enterprises


    ·Remote working

    Provide vouchers for contactless services (216 billion won) to 60,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) for them to be digital-based, develop software based on next-generation digital technology (5.6 billion won) in ways such as improving the quality of video conference system

    ·Support micro-enterprises

    Secure digital marketing channels (72.6 billion won) by holding online exhibitions involving participation from 53,000 micro-enterprises, establish about 20,000 digital shops (22 billion won) which support deployment of digital technologies such as IoT and 600 digital craft shops (29.4 billion won)

    3. Digitalize SOC
    (Invest 1.8 trillion won in government spending for 2021)

    1. Transportation infrastructure

          - Digitalize critical transportation infrastructure across the country including roads, railways and airports for ensuring public safety


    With the target of commercializing fully autonomous driving vehicles for the first time in the world by 2027, establish Intelligent Transport System (ITS) in 45% of national roads and C-ITS* in major roads (517.9 billion won) and create a "precision road map for autonomous driving" for 11,670km of general national roads (16 billion won)
    * C-ITS (Cooperative Intelligent Transport System): a next-generation intelligent transport system which communicates between vehicles and between vehicles and transport infrastructure

    ·Railway and airport

    Digitalize maintenance process of railway facilities (295.8 billion won) in ways including installing IoT sensors for inspecting facilities near railways and establish "contactless biometrics system" in major airports such as Gimpo, Gimhae and Jeju.

    2. Prevent and respond to disasters

         - Ensure public safety by managing dams and rivers real time and establishing "smart disaster prevention system" which extinguishes forest fires using drones

    ·Safety management 

    Deploy automatic and remote control system for drainage facility in 57% of national rivers (180 billion won) to prevent flooding, establish real-time monitoring system (30 billion won) and smart dam management system based on drones and big data in eleven dams (15 billion won)

    ·Disaster response

    Prevent human casualties by establishing early alert system (28.8 billion won) in 65 steep slopes and 105 districts vulnerable to natural disasters, create 10 new drone fire extinguishers to promptly extinguish forest fires and operate "flight training centers for drones used in forest fires" to nurture experts (4.6 billion won)

    3. Smart cities, industrial complexes, logistics 

         - Digitalize cities, industrial complexes and logistic infrastructure and facilitate contactless direct transactions of agricultural products and fisheries products

    ·Urban areas, industrial complexes 

    Expand smart city solutions to more than 15 local governments (30 billion won), launch national pilot smart city in Busan in December 2021 and establish two integrated control centers for industrial complexes (18.5 billion won) to ensure safety and manage traffic by using intelligent CCTVs and IoT devices as well as one platform for sharing logistics facilities (10 billion won)


    Build two cutting-edge smart logistics centers in transport hubs that can be shared by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) (5.9 billion won) and one smart logistics center for SMEs in port hinterlands (3.6 billion won), launch an integrated digital platform for export and import logistics for shared use of information on export and import logistics

    ·Online transactions 

    Establish an integrated platform for public meals to promote consumption of agricultural products (5.6 billion won) and an online auction platform* for wholesale livestock product market (2.6 billion won), carry out R&D to ensure fresh distribution for facilitating contactless and direct trading of fisheries and improve institutions by amending* the "act on fishery products distribution"
    * support system to facilitate direct transactions of fisheries, provide information on direct transactions, ensure systems including building big data platform to be specific

    II. Future directions

    The government plans to successfully carry out the Digital New Deal initiative, which is in its second year of implementation and will manage the following programs in order to create tangible outcomes that can be felt by the public.

    Establish "a roadmap for creating tangible outcomes" which outlines key achievements from each project by regularly holding inter-ministerial Digital New Deal working group briefings, raise awareness of Digital New Deal policy among the public by promoting key achievements of the policy from each ministry through holding briefing session

    Overhaul legal framework and institutions to digitalize the Korean economy and society based on ten legislative tasks of Digital New Deal policy, continuously relieve issues on site through "regulatory sandbox system" which removes regulations curbing industrial development

    Continue to supplement Digital New Deal policy through Ministers and Vice Ministers paying visits to regions and companies in order to get closer to the public and listen to their voices, identify new cooperative projects

    For further information, please contact Deputy Director Kim Do Chang of the Ministry of Science and ICT (E-mail address :







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