July 18, 2014 – The government in South Korea is organizing its manufacturing sector along with academics and ministries to tackle and develop 3D printing as an economic opportunity. Rather than rely on the hits and misses of free enterprise, the South Korean leadership is directing all interested players within the country to come up with a roadmap that will lead to innovation in manufacturing and the creation of new jobs.
The Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy, Lee Kwan-seok is quoted in the Yonhap News Agengcy as stating, “Although a few South Korean firms hold their own technologies, their competitive edge in the sector is still blunt compared with global leading companies.” A roadmap will coordinate research that currently is fragmented into academic institutions and businesses. This initiative is intended to breakdown the barriers to establish collective wisdom. It is not intended to limit the output of individual research leading to patents and other intellectual property rights.
The initiative involves the Ministry deploying 3D printers in 227 libraries and 5,885 schools by 2017 with the hope to have 10 million of its citizens using 3D printers by 2020.