By Kang Yoon-seung
SEOUL, Dec. 21 (Yonhap) -- South Korea on Wednesday unveiled an economic development blueprint covering 15 projects ranging from space exploration to self-driving technology, in line with efforts to foster new growth engines.
The New Growth Strategy 4.0 is aimed at securing future technologies that will eventually raise the country's per-capita gross national income (GNI) to US$50,000, according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance.
South Korea's per-capita GNI came to $35,373 in 2021. It surpassed the $30,000 mark for the first time in 2017.
Under the plan, South Korea plans to build the Cooperative Intelligence Transport Systems (C-ITS), which allows automobiles to share traffic information in real-time on major expressways by 2024, eventually expanding them to all roads by 2030 to commercialize self-driving cars.
The country also plans to inject 2 trillion won ($1.53 billion) from 2023 to 2032 to develop a next-generation rocket capable of carrying a 1.8-ton lunar module, with the launch scheduled for 2032.
In the medical sector, South Korea plans to develop at least three regenerative treatments, including cell and gene therapies, by 2030. In addition, the country plans to commercialize at least five new healthcare software by 2025.
In the technology sector, the government plans to roll out projects worth 779 billion won this year to develop services that can help the elderly and the disabled.
South Korea plans to bolster its competitiveness in the artificial intelligence (AI) sector, with a goal of narrowing the technology gap with the United States.
The country will also foster its data market to reach 50 trillion won in 2027, compared with 23 trillion won estimated in 2023, by building advanced data centers utilizing high-speed and low-power AI chips.
South Korea plans to have at least 10 carbon-neutral cities by 2030, and continue to build infrastructures for eco-friendly transportation systems.
The blueprint also includes projects for tourism and entertainment industries.
South Korea will establish a tourism cluster around Cheong Wa Dae -- the former presidential office open to public since the launch of the current administration -- to attract more foreign visitors.
The government expected the annual number of foreign tourists visiting South Korea to reach 30 million in 2027, rising sharply from 17.5 million tallied in 2019.
In terms of entertainment content, South Korea plans to raise an intellectual property fund of 150 billion won, including 90 billion won state funds, in 2023 to foster what it calls the "Korean equivalent of Disney."
On the back of such efforts, South Korea plans to beef up its exports of entertainment content to reach $35 billion in 2032, compared to $11.9 billion tallied in 2020.
The government plans to support a South Korean consortium seeking business opportunities in major overseas projects, including Saudi Arabia's Neom, a $500 billion project to build a sustainable city operated by robots and powered by renewable energy.
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