South Korea is currently the most advanced country in terms of IT usage in public administration – ahead of countries such as the United States and Canada. It ranks in TOP 3 in the E-Government Development Index (EGDI), assessing the level of development of e-administration by the UN.
E-administration in the Land of the Morning Calm
The origins of current successes should be sought in the decisions taken in the mid-1980s when Koren government decided to build a national information system consisting of five national networks (administration, finance, education and research, defense and security). At the same time Computer Program Protection Act. was approved. The term “Electronic administration” was used in official documents for the first time in 1993 and was published in 1998, following the decision of the South Korean president, Kim Dae-jung. The official website of the government and the civil service parties became publicly available. In the years 1999-2002, the program “Cyber Korea 21” was implemented, and in 2001-2002 the e-government initiative was launched, creating in 2007 an e-government roadmap with a grid of particular fields to be digitized and computerized. Today’s information technology covers all areas of administration. Most transactions between citizens and the state, as well as between business and the state, are carried out via computer networks.
The main portal of the Korean electronic system is korea.go.kr. Anybody can find information on e-government there, and find out how the system works. The site also includes a list of all local governments in the country along with the websites listed for each of them, a system development plan and much more.
Interesting solutions are offered by Korea.net – a website where you can find: news related to culture, sport, society, business, travel; events (eg performances, festivals, exhibitions); resources (publications, multimedia) and information on the government (administration, the Constitution). It is also worth mentioning the website of the Korea Immigration Service, where anyone interested can find information on matters related to the stay in Korea, refugees, visas, nationality and nationality and Korean nationals abroad.
All tenders organized in this country are not only advertised on the Internet, but every trader can submit their offers on the Internet. More importantly, a one-time registration in the tender system allows entrepreneurs to monitor the tenders announced by the central, local and public sector bodies and take part in them. This, on the one hand, increases competition between suppliers and reduces the cost of procurement and, on the other, reduces the cost of participation in tenders. Once submitted documents (certificates) do not need to be submitted in subsequent tenders, as they are already in the system, the cost of searching information on tenders is also falling.
Korean customs also make an extensive use of information technology, which has significantly reduced the time required to deal with international trade. According to government data, the duration of the formalities needed to export the products was reduced from one day to two minutes. Time to complete import formalities was reduced from over two days to two hours. Similar results may be expressed by other Korean institutions, such as the tax office or organizations providing business support.
There is also a portal where citizens can complain about their rights violations by the state, and express their views on the planned changes to the law or the way in which state institutions operate. All public administration organizations are connected to a single computer system, and the citizen can see at what stage he or she is reporting the matter and which institution is dealing with it.
E-Commerce in South Korea
Due to strong technological and mobile adoption, South Korea is one of the biggest e-commerce markets worldwide. Industry figures suggest that the retail e-commerce volume in the country will grow to 32.56 billion U.S. dollars by 2021, up from 19.12 billion U.S. dollars in 2016. Online shopping in Korea is still enjoying double-digit growth – in 2016, online shopping sales in South Korea grew 20.5 percent compared to the previous year. The most popular online shopping categories were online travel arrangement and reservation services, home electronics and appliances, and fashion and apparel.
As a consumer society with an internet penetration rate of close to 90 percent among the population, it is no surprise that e-commerce holds a strong position in South Korea. The country also boasts the highest e-commerce penetration in the Asia Pacific region with a 72 percent active online shopping reach as of the fourth quarter of 2016. The most popular online shopping property is online auction and shopping mall 11st.co.kr with more than 11 million unique monthly visitors in January 2017. 11st.co.kr belongs to SK Telecom, a telecom provider that is part of the SK Group, one of South Korea’s largest chaebols and most valuable brands. Other competitive e-commerce brands include online shopping malls Lotta.com and GS SHOP, online marketplaces Gmarket and auction.co.kr (both belong to eBay), and social commerce brands Coupang and Wemakeprice. Coupang.com was also the leading online store based on net e-commerce sales in 2016.
Despite the strong e-commerce sales, South Korea only accounts for a small percentage of digital buyers located in the Asia Pacific region. As of 2016, digital buyer penetration in South Korea surpassed 61.7 percent of internet users.
Mobile retail e-commerce sales are also particularly strong in South Korea. In 2015, industry data suggests that 37.5 percent of online retail sales were generated via mobile device. Mobile shopping transaction volume amounted to 34.7 trillion Korean won in 2016, accounting for 53.46 percent of total online shopping value during that year. As of the fourth quarter of 2016, 55 of the population in South Korea have made a purchase via mobile phone.
In addition to the use of information technology for interaction between the customer and the government administration, they are also used to streamline work inside offices. An integrated On-nara process management system has been set up, with the help of Korean officials leading the matter. Not only does this system shorten the processing time, it also increases government transparency and enables you to keep track of every case that goes to the authorities.
In conclusion, the use of information technology has made South Korea not only improve the efficiency of its administration but has also led to greater transparency in decision-making and has created conditions for consultation of government projects with the public.