South Korea has embarked on an ambitious journey to become the epicenter of the global quantum economy by 2035. The Ministry of Science and ICT unveiled the "Korea Quantum Science and Technology Strategy" at Dongdaemun Design Plaza on June 27, 2023, marking a historic national strategy aimed at quantum scientific and technological leadership.
With a vision backed by a robust investment of at least KRW 3 trillion from public and private sectors, South Korea plans to enhance its technological capabilities to 85% of the leading quantum nations. This transformation is anchored in a meticulously crafted strategy, which hinges on seven strategic directions.
Here, we delve into each of these directions, painting a vivid picture of South Korea's quantum future.
- Securing Quantum Manpower: The top priority is to significantly increase the number of quantum core personnel from 384 in 2022 to 2,500 by 2035, and to implement a global manpower rotation system that includes overseas dispatches. This involves expanding departments in the fields of quantum science and technology at universities and fostering quantum education and research base centers to train a substantial quantum workforce. Additionally, Korean students and researchers will be dispatched to leading overseas research institutions to cultivate a global talent virtuous cycle.
- Promoting Mission-Oriented Quantum Research and Development: This includes ambitious goals like developing a 50-qubit quantum computer by 2027 and a 1000-qubit quantum computer by 2031, establishing quantum repeater technology, and achieving world-class quantum sensor technology. The strategy emphasizes the development of a variety of quantum computing methods, the linkage between classical and quantum computing, and the advancement of quantum algorithms and quantum software.
- Advancing Quantum Research and Industrial Infrastructure: The plan is to progress from an open, researcher-centered quantum fabrication facility (quantum fab) to a public quantum foundry by 2027, and ultimately to a privately operated quantum foundry by 2035. This includes the development and commercialization of quantum devices, processing, testing, verification, and quantum storage technologies.
- Establishing an Industrial Foundation for a Quantum Economy: The strategy aims to explore quantum gains in 10 major fields and grow the number of quantum startups from 10 in 2023 to 100 by 2035. It seeks to strengthen institutional support for quantum-using industries and startups, including policy financing support and venture incubation programs.
- Promoting the Introduction of National Defense and Security Applications: This includes the establishment of quantum specialized laboratories and centers for defense fields, and the development of next-generation encryption systems that are quantum-resistant. The aim is to introduce new technologies and weapon systems using quantum science and technology into future battlefields.
- Securing Global Quantum Leadership: The government plans to increase international cooperation investment from KRW 13 billion between 2019-2022 to KRW 210 billion by 2035, dispatching personnel for technological alliances and promoting joint research and development with leading quantum countries. This includes securing supply chains for quantum research and industrial materials, parts, and equipment.
- Establishing a Sustainable Support System: This involves a strategic investment expansion with KRW 2.4 trillion from the government between 2023-2035 and KRW 600 billion from the private sector between 2023-2027. The strategy also calls for the enactment of laws to foster quantum science technology and the quantum industry, including comprehensive support for establishing a quantum research and industry hub, nurturing full-cycle human resources, commercializing research results, and activating international cooperation.
South Korea's strategic vision for 2035 is a bold declaration of its ambition to lead the global quantum economy. By addressing critical areas through its seven strategic directions, South Korea is not just preparing for the future; it is actively shaping it. This comprehensive approach reflects a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities that the quantum era presents. As South Korea embarks on this ambitious journey, its success will not only redefine its own economic and technological landscape but also contribute significantly to the global quantum revolution.
The unveiling of South Korea's Quantum Strategy Vision for 2035 not only charts a path for the country's technological ascendancy but also opens up a myriad of opportunities for foreign companies looking to tap into the Korean quantum market. These opportunities span across strategic investments, collaborative research and development, educational partnerships, and direct participation in Korea's burgeoning quantum industry infrastructure. Foreign entities can leverage South Korea's robust investment and supportive policy landscape to establish partnerships, engage in technology exchange, and contribute to the quantum ecosystem. By aligning with South Korea's comprehensive quantum strategy, international businesses stand to benefit from early access to one of the most dynamic and rapidly evolving quantum markets in the world. This collaboration will be key to fostering innovation, securing a competitive edge in the global quantum economy, and contributing to the mutual growth of both South Korea and participating international partners.