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Gov't unveils measures to boost content exports


SEOUL, Sept. 12 (Yonhap) -- The government said Thursday it will seek to expand the local content industry's exports by increasing overseas publicity efforts and financial support for the sector.

The plan comes two months after the government unveiled its goal of growing the industry into a 120 trillion won (US$111 billion) market with the capacity of exporting $10 billion worth of products by 2017 from $4.8 billion in 2012.

The country's content industry was worth 88 trillion won last year with about 600,000 workers. The digital content sector, in particular, has grown sharply in recent years, but many local content firms are in poor condition, with their workers suffering from job insecurity.

The content industry is an umbrella term encompassing firms producing music, computer games, animations, movies, musicals and other creative products.

"We came up with the measures together with the science ministry, sharing the view that the content industry can contribute to building a creative economy," said Song Soo-geun, a culture ministry official in charge of policies to promote the local content industry in a press briefing.

The creative economy refers to President Park Geun-hye's vision that focuses on building the country's economic growth through the convergence of information, communications technology and culture as well as other sectors to create new business opportunities.

"The focus is on helping ease difficulties facing exporters and reinforcing overseas marketing activities," he said.

To increase the export of content products, the government said it will strengthen marketing activities, especially in emerging markets in such regions as Latin America, the Middle East and Africa.

South Korean will more actively conduct market research, host "road shows" and operate booths to promote Korean content products in foreign trade fairs. It will work in cooperation with offices of the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency, also known as KOTRA, in those regions, the government said.

In the maturing Asian market, the government said it will push for more co-production of movies, animation and TV documentaries with foreign countries.

As part of measures to increase competitiveness of local products, the government will create a 20 billion won fund for animation and a 10 billion won fund for stage musicals, according to the culture ministry.

The Export-Import Bank of Korea plans to increase its financial support for local content that is also popular in other Asian countries from 180 billion won this year to 250 billion won in 2017 while the Korea Trade Insurance Corp. will expand the volume of export credit guarantees for content industry products to 7 billion won by 2017, the ministry said.

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