The Seoul Metropolitan Government is at CES for the first time under the theme of “Smart City & Smart Life.

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Ubergizmo is an official media partner, and our team will find the best Korean startups hosted by the City of Seoul in the appropriately named Seoul Pavilion and located at the Eureka Park (Sands Expo, Hall GGoogle Maps Link).

We have been going to South Korea since 2012 to look at device prototypes, visit R&D labs, manufacturing facilities, and meet startups and incubators. Everyone knows the big South Korean brands, but there are plenty of innovative startups as well, and now is their time to shine.

The Seoul Pavillion is 222.96 square-meters big which is enough to host two dozen promising companies that have been selected for their innovative products and services, across seven themes: Smart Entertainment, Smart Transportation & Mobility, Smart ECO, Smart Healthcare, Smart Device, Smart Drone & Energy, and Smart Life.

Additionally, an area has been set up to demonstrate the Digital Civic Mayor’s Office, a big-data visualization of 16 Million city data-points and metrics, along with 1500 CCTV cameras operated by the City if Seoul.

The original system has a 143 x 66 inches display, which is about 157.5-inches of diagonal. Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon and city decision-makers can have a global view of the city’s many vital systems, statistics, and events, in real-time.

The Digital Civic Mayor’s Office also visualizes data such as air pollution (a big topic in Korea in recent years) and disasters such as fires, accidents. Upon demand, any of these data points can be zoomed upon and looked at it more detail.

Seoul Mayor Park Won Soon – photo courtesy of the City of Seoul

As of 2017, the United Nations recorded that Seoul Metropolitan had 9.8M inhabitants, making it one of the largest cities in the world. If we add the surrounding towns, nearly half the population of South Korea lives in and around Seoul.

In 2012, the OECD pointed out that the city of Seoul generates ~$384B, or approximately 23% of South Korea’s overall GDP. If Seoul city was a country, it’s GDP would rank at #28 between the UAE and Norway. As of 2018, South Korea, as a whole, has the highest rate of investment in startups per capita (according to this Forbes article).

With such economic clout and talent pool, it’s not surprising that the City of Seoul can contribute to events like CES (and others around the world) at a level that is comparable to some countries. The Seoul Digital Foundation and the Seoul Business Agency are the two entities in charge of building and running the CES 2020 Seoul Pavilion.

Some Korean startups achieve “Unicorn” status (it means their valuation is above $1B), like the “amazon-like” e-commerce company Coupang ($9B valuation), food-delivery company Woowa brothers ($5B) or FinTech (financial tech) startup Viva Republica ($1B) that caters to the P2P money transaction market.

Perhaps the most famous former Korean startup is Kakao, a popular chat application founded in 2010 and valued at $9.45B in 2015, thanks to world-class user experience and quick revenue expansion into Gaming, Maps, and even Taxi services.

Startups @ Seoul Pavilion

Smart Device

Smart Life

Smart Transportation & Mobility

Smart Drone & Smart Energy

Smart Healthcare

Smart ECO

Smart Entertainment

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