South Korea will spend about US$1.05 billion to build two robot theme parks as part of a drive to nurture the robotics industry as a new growth engine, officials said on Thursday. The Ministry of Knowledge Economy said it would build the world's first robot theme park by the end of 2013 in Incheon, a port city west of Seoul. The government said it has set aside 784.5 billion won (US$559 million) for the Incheon park, to be called 'Robot Land.' Construction would begin later this year, it added.
The second theme park will be built in the southern industrial city of Masan although detailed plans have yet to be drawn up, it said.
The two parks - requiring a total of 1.48 trillion won from local and central governments - will help create 18,000 jobs and boost the competitiveness of the robot industry.
Korea has been eyeing the robotics industry as a future growth engine, as robots have been widely used in the nation's key industries including automobiles, flat panel displays, semiconductors and shipbuilding industries.
The government is now putting more emphasis on developing service robots that help clean homes and provide entertainment.
Kim Hong-seok, chief research engineer at the Korea Institute of Industrial Technology, said the service robot market is expected to be worth between $17 billion and $50 billion by 2012, in a recent report.
(Source: Korean Herald Feb 13, 2009)