The KABC Korea Business Forum

How are Korean companies changing through digitalisation?  A dialogue

This month’s Korea Business Forum will be held from
8.00am – 10.00am, 15 April 2021 only in Online Seminar Room

Our April KBF is an experiment in that we plan to have a debate rather than the usual presentation with interventions.  After the customary economic and social update, taking into account the results of the mayoral by elections, Eric Kim of Datacrunch and I shall be conducting a discussion on the state and future of digitalization in Korea.

Eric will be telling us what the companies that he works with are aiming to achieve in their digitalization plans, and the kind of results which they have achieved to date, mainly in the financial sector.  I shall be reviewing the government’s latest iteration of its digital plan and some of the technological innovations that companies will have to decide whether to adopt or not.  We will both give our take on how change in the market in general has been accelerated by the covid years.

I am expecting that the digital disparity between companies will increase in the coming five years, and those in the digital vanguard will accelerate ahead of those who are slow adopters, because they are still doing good business the old way.  But Eric’s experience suggests that all companies will adopt digital processes which reduce labour inputs.     High degrees of digitalization are expected in the financial sector and many e-platforms which means a reduced demand for staff in high productivity service areas as well as manufacturing.

Based on Eric’s observation that the main reason companies are pursuing digitalization is to reduce their direct labour force, and that adoption of AI threatens areas of business which have previously been the preserve of the professions or at least junior professionals, we will move to consider the labour market as a whole.

McKinsey and WEF predict that while manufacturing jobs disappear, those in the service sector, particularly health increase.  I shall continue my argument that this is not the most probable conclusion since many of the digitization processes and automation processes will be applicable in health care and the care of seniors.  Eric will raise the need for some kind of universal income, and ask how this could be funded, or if there is any other answer for permanent joblessness.

Join us and join in the debate on April 15.

Yours sincerely,

Tony Michell
Managing Director, KABC Ltd.

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