Coronavirus outbreak cripples Korea’s R&D activities

2020.03.20 15:37:21 | 2020.03.20 15:39:27

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The coronavirus outbreak has crippled the R&D activities in South Korea, with half out 10 companies scaling back sourcing as well as hiring.

A survey by the Korea Industrial Technology Association (KOITA) on 1,490 firms with R&D arms showed 79.8 percent responding negative impact on their work as the result of the ongoing epidemic.

Almost half of them, or 47.7 percent, have slashed spending for R&D this year, and 41.3 percent scaling down new hiring. Of the small- and mid-sized companies, 13.1 percent planned a sharp fall in spending.

The biggest hurdle to R&D activities was travel ban (58.9 percent), deterioration in business conditions (42.7 percent), limited entries to overseas (39.1 percent), parts or materials supply disruptions (35.8 percent), and staff vacancies from confirmed cases and self-quarantines (26 percent).

In response to the growing challenges, the association urged the government to offer financial aid and incentives. Financial aid topped the priority (72.8 percent), funding for R&D activities (67.8 percent), a temporary extension of the state-led projects (64.6 percent), and tax breaks for R&D spending (58.9 percent).

By Song Kyung-eun and Lee Ha-yeon

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