As the new coronavirus shakes the business and consumers industries on a massive scale, some market analysts warn of a possible global recession. Some countries are already showing damage as outbreaks hit their economy hard, while some saw opportunities to take advantage of the situation.
South Korea’s public and private sectors scrambled to slow the spread of the virus. However, the country showed that it could bring the disease under control. The country’s businesses largely carried on, without a full lockdown of cities. While full economic consequences of the outbreak are uncertain, the effects of the events are already triggering changes across industries especially the tech industry.
The virus outbreak led to partial and full shutdowns of plants and factories in China and other countries. However, with the number of cases declining everyday in South Korea, the local industry seems to slowly return to normal.
Even before the COVID-19 outbreak in South Korean, industry giants such as Hyundai Motor and Kia Motor halted production in their plants disrupting supply chain. The disruption came after the shortage of necessary parts manufactured in China. Along with slowing domestic economic activity, the industrial disruption would drive the local coronavirus’ economic impact. Extended dampening of domestic activity could even push South Korea into an economic recession.
Need for 5G Tech
The increasing necessity for remote interactions such as work-at-home and teleconferencing justified the need for 5G technology. Telecom and e-commerce companies gained first-hand experience in the surge of network traffic as use of mobile and internet services increased dramatically.
Coupang’s shopping platform hit record high in March, with a total of 1.63 trillion won ($1.32 billion). SK Telecom and KT have been aggressively promoting 5G technology as they see it as a profitable venture.
South Korea’s Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said that the government would inject an investment volume of 4 trillion won ($3.29 billion) into 5G network’s development.
The country’s 5G mobile network subscribers already exceeded the 5 million mark last February, according to the Ministry of Science and ICT. Industry experts expect the number to increase in the coming months.
Teleconferencing also became critical for company operations amid the outbreak and preventive measures. Many companies increased their reliance on teleconferencing tools as employees switched to remote work amid public health concerns. Companies recognized the potential of this tools and their dependence on 5G would strengthen its appeal to homes.
South Korea has been lauded by the international community for its quick response to the coronavirus outbreaks. However, the country braces for a resurgence of cases amid its success of “flattening the curve.”
Health experts also expect that in the case of another global pandemic the country would be prepared better in handling such an event.
Such event would justify the need to advance smart hospital systems with 5G-powered medical solutions to improve healthcare. Health facilities would see widespread use of robotic health workers, biometric virus predictors and AI health management tools that provide better patient care, and improve efficiency.
In mid-January, Samsung Electronics and KT introduced various applications that use the 5G network in the Samsung Medical Center. The test-run would make certain procedures in the tertiary hospital to cost less with the use of RAN-based 5G network.
South Korea Coronavirus Update
According to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), as of Monday, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 infection cases tallied at 10,284. Total recovered stood at 6,598, while total deaths stood at 186.
Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun urged the public to continue with high-level physical distancing, but warned of complacency as the number of new infections drop each day.