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Gov't to operate cultural belt in full swing this year

All News 10:49 January 18, 2016

SEOUL, Jan. 18 (Yonhap) -- The government said Monday it will kick the operation of its "cultural convergence belt" into high gear this year while rendering full support to startups that have moved into the government-run cultural venture complex in central Seoul.

The government will also intensively cultivate the country's promising cultural content such as computer games and webtoons and build a platform for circulating the country's "killer content" worldwide.

These were included in a 2016 work plan that the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism reported to President Park Geun-hye.

"This year, the government will focus its capabilities on building a sustainable growth engine by having its cultural enrichment policy affect all fields of the economy," Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Kim Jong-deok said.

The ministry said it will intensively nurture the content and tourism industries which have a high potential for growth and help maximize the competitiveness of other industries by encouraging them to collaborate with artists.

The government began creating the Culture Creation Convergence Belt composed of a creative convergence center, a creative venture center, an academy and a cluster of cultural performance facilities last February to help tech venture start-ups work with each other to develop and commercialize creative ideas and foster talent in the culture and content industries.

The Creative Center for Convergence Culture is currently run jointly by the government and CJ E&M, a leading content and media company, while the government opened the venture cluster last month in the former office building of the Korea Tourism Organization in downtown Seoul. It is now home to 93 startups that have some 500 employees combined.

The academy, which seeks to foster next-generation artists who can use the latest emerging technologies to create content, is set to open in Seoul's Dongdaemun area in March.

The government also plans to open K-Culture Valley, a cluster of K-pop arena, film and drama studios, and a hallyu theme park in 2017. Hallyu refers to the global popularity of Korean pop culture such as TV dramas, pop music and films.

In 2014, South Korea had the world's seventh-largest content market, accounting for 2.8 percent of the global market. The United States maintained an overwhelming No. 1 spot with a share of 32.1 percent, followed by Japan, China, Germany, Britain and France.

sshim@yna.co.kr
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