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Time to create a fintech Hallyu

Apr 16,2018
Kang Im-ho

*Economics professor at Hanyang University

At the AI Go competition in January, Korea’s Dolbaram beat Japan’s DeepZenGo in three to one. Dolbaram is a product by a one-man company, and DeepZenGo was developed by Tokyo University, Japan Go Association and software company Dwango. Many young Koreans demonstrate outstanding talents in IT. In the past 10 years, 15 graduates from a junior college in Daegu got a job at Japan’s Softbank, a selective company that is hard for a four-year college graduate to get into.

What is a realistic way to make the most of the potential? It is to capture the minds of the young people. Examples of success made in the environment where young people freely explore their potential can be found from the companies with top global market capitalization. Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, which has the biggest market capitalization, was 21 years old when he made the first Apple computer. Larry Page and Sergey Brin were 23 years old when they co-founded Google, the second-largest company. Bill Gates was 20 when he founded Microsoft, fourth place.

Lately, the interests in fintech are seriously distorted and represented in a form of cryptocurrency craze. While those in their 20s and 30s are leading the market, high school students and homemakers are also investing. A high school student who posed as a cryptocurrency developer claimed that he would distribute new cryptocurrency to existing bitcoin owners, and the bitcoin price instantly rose by 15 percent. Later, it turned out to be a fraud, and the price plummeted.

Anyone at this age can learn programming and challenge a new service through cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. Rather than buying cryptocurrency and waiting for the price to go up, it would be better to learn computer programming and provide one’s own services.

Idols like BTS and Exo that lead Hallyu, or the Korean Wave of culture, are the ones who survived fierce competition. Just like entertainment agencies nurture Hallyu entertainers, Hallyu fintech can also be possible when young people are interested in IT and are given chances to learn computer networking and programming from early on.

Fortunately, the government designated fintech as one of the eight innovation businesses earlier this year. I recommend that young people interested in cryptocurrency and blockchain pursue their dreams through fintech start-ups.