SeouLA 2017: Driving Growth with Technology and Innovation
Global Los Angeles

ChanIck Jeong

March 23, 2017

The United States and South Korea are the second and fifth largest exporters in the world, respectively, and their top export products are heavily weighted toward technology, including refined petroleum and planes, helicopters, and spacecraft for the United States, and integrated circuits and cars for South Korea. Technology and innovation are key contributors to both the U.S. and Korean economies.

In fact, the United States and South Korea are also strong partners in science. They work together in space exploration, advanced manufacturing, and information technologies, as well as climate change and artificial intelligence.

So what role does technology and innovation play in fostering economic growth for developed economies like the United States and South Korea? A panel of experts at the SeouLA Forum on March 31 will discuss.


  • Since the 1960s, South Korea has developed Science and Technology (ST) policy to build a strong IT economy. Today, South Korea not only competes with the United States in the fields of ST, but also cooperates closely. During the 9th session of the U.S.-Korea joint committee on science and technology cooperation last year, both governments agreed to expend their ST cooperation to cybersecurity and artificial intelligence, and discussed cooperation on artificial intelligence and nano and biotechnology.
  • Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area are the heart of high-tech startups, where many cutting-edge companies have started small but have gone global. However, venture capital investment is now spreading across countries and cities. Los Angeles has its own "Silicon Beach," and South Korea is poised to become the next "global hub" for tech start-ups. Ranked first in the 2016 Bloomberg Innovative Index as the most innovative economy in the world, South Korea could create new venture investment opportunities.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) startup deals reached a record high last year, increasing from 160 deals in 2012 to 658 in 2016. While the United States has a firm grip on AI R&D with 70 percent of the global AI deal share going to U.S.-based startups, South Korea’s AI R&D is beginning to ramp up. When Google’s AI AlphaGo beat South Korean Go grandmaster Lee Sedol by 4 to 1 last year, the Korean government committed to invest $863 million in AI research over the following five years, and also expanded joint cooperation with the United States on AI R&D.
  • Ranked among the world’s 10 highest energy-consuming countries as of 2015, the United States and South Korea have a firm bilateral commitment to combat climate change and invest in clean energy. However, since the inauguration of President Donald Trump, U.S. policy on climate change and clean energy remains uncertain.

Looking Ahead: SeouLA Forum 2017

Speakers in this session at the SeouLA Forum on March 31 will include Sangkyun Cha, professor at Seoul National University and director of the Big Data Institute; Jay Eum, co-founder and managing director of TransLink Capital; Kate Gordon, senior advisor at the Paulson Institute; and Jinhyung Kim, president and CEO of the AI Research Institute. 

Stay tuned for results of the discussion.

Meanwhile, share your own opinion on social media: What is the role of technology and innovation in driving growth for the United States and for South Korea? Join the conversation on March 31 by tweeting at us @PacCouncil and using #SeouLA.

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