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Helping and Promoting Digital Transformation in the Seoul Bio-medical SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprise)

Eunjoo Oh·InHye Yu

This study aims to understand how the Seoul bio-medical SMEs are adapting to the digital transformation trends (hereafter DX) and the prevailing of Seoul metropolitan government policy. The advent of DX raises typical questions like the digital divide between Large firms and SMEs.

This research involved distributing questionnaires to 300 bio-medical firms: pharmaceutical firm, medical device firms, and bio-R&D firms. The survey reports the recognition, strategy, short-term/long-term strategies, difficulties, and policy demand of the firms in DX. The main findings of the survey can be summaries as such: first, about 36 percent of the firms recognizes the current DX; second, the firms’ plan for DX is differential according to sub-industry and firms size; third, pharmaceutical and bio-R&D firms are more interested in AI and big data technologies whereas medical device firms are more in 3D printing; forth, the SMEs demand massive investments and information/data release for central government and network connection between the bio firms and digital institutions for Seoul government.

This research suggests four strategies: digital literacy, collaboration among the bio firms and potential partners, planning of industry-specific technology roadmap and guidelines, and the promotion of DX infrastructure.