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S. Korea to foster service, entertainment industries amid economic challenges

Economy 08:43 November 18, 2022

By Kang Yoon-seung

SEOUL, Nov. 18 (Yonhap) -- South Korea plans to draw up a five-year development plan for the country's service industry in line with its efforts to foster new growth engines amid protracted economic challenges, the finance minister said Friday.

"Recently, various cultural and entertainment content, such as BTS and 'Squid Game,' have gained popularity around the globe, emerging as new growth and export engines," Finance Minister Choo Kyung-ho said during a meeting with economy-related ministers.

"But the productivity of the local service industry accounts for only 70 percent of the average posted by members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, falling behind major countries," Choo added.

The minister was referring to an OECD report that showed an average South Korean worker in the service industry created values of US$63,900 in 2019, falling below the member countries' average of $88,600.

In order to add more vitality to the service sector, the finance ministry said it will establish a special task force, which will include officials from the private and public sectors, by the end of this month, and set key short- and long-term goals next month.

S. Korea to foster service, entertainment industries amid economic challenges - 1

South Korea will announce the 2023-27 development plan in March next year, it added.

The service industry's exports reached $121.2 billion in 2021, accounting for around 15.7 percent of South Korea's exports of goods.

To further speed up exports in the sector, the finance ministry said it plans to provide tax cuts for the production costs of over-the-top (OTT) content.

"Amid the heightening competition from home and abroad, in order to gain the upper hand in the global market, the government will boost the competitiveness of the media and content industry and support local firms' global expansion," Choo said.

According to the ministry data, South Korea's exports of entertainment content came to US$11.92 billion in 2020, up 16 percent from a year earlier.

South Korea also seeks to launch a ceremony tentatively named the "Global OTT Awards" in order to promote entertainment content and make it as reputable as the Busan International Film Festival, Asia's largest-film event held annually in the southeastern port city, the ministry added.


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