This month Smart Card Talk spoke with Ah-Young Kim, from the Overseas Business Division of KEBTechnology, the leading smart card platform solution provider in Korea.
1. What are KEBTechnology’s main business profile and offerings?
KEBTechnology has devoted all of its efforts to building the infrastructure on which smart cards can be utilized. Together with this, we have developed products for every field in which smart cards can be used, including financial, telecommunications and public fields, obtaining domestic and overseas certifications and building the industrial foundation that can lead the market. KEBTechnology’s technological expertise in the public sector was first recognized overseas when we received the order for Thailand’s National ID card business in 2007, in total amount of 26 million cards.
2. What role does smart card technology play in supporting your business?
KEBTechnology is a total smart card solution provider, with a strong focus on developing the core technology of the smart card–the Card Operating System (COS). We developed the Global Platform-based KONA™ card–which can be called the first next-generation Java card. This is the first in the domestic smart card industry with purely independent technology; KEB Technology is providing the card to all financial institutions in Korea. Not content with having the leading market share in the Korean smart card market, we are actively pursuing the overseas market as well.
3. What trends do you see developing in the market that you hope to capitalize on?
Many governments in the world will introduce smart card technology for national e-ID cards and ePassports; the national e-ID and ePassport market will have continued growth, especially in Asia and Pacific.
Electronic national IDs issued annually will grow by 54% from 424 million in 2010 to 655 million in 2015. This growth is due to the number of national e-ID issuing countries growing from 29 to 82; the total number represents 66% of all national ID issuing countries, compared to the previous 29%.
The Asia Pacific ePassport and eVisa market will displace Europe as the market leader and dominate both revenue and volume market share. The Asia Pacific market will command an increasing percentage of the global market for ePassports and eVisas, as revenue share growth increases from 19.2% of global combined ePassport and eVisa revenue in 2009 to 40.63% of this combined global revenue in 2014.
4. What obstacles to growth do you see that must be overcome to capitalize on these opportunities?
Projects being carried out by governments, including national eIDs, ePassports, electronic licenses and electronic medical cards, have the disadvantage that a lot of time is needed from business planning to execution. For these projects, decisions involving policy are needed, since the issuing organizations are public businesses. And we need special certificates for each country, like SCOSTA in India, creating a hurdle for accessing the market. The cost for getting these certifications is also significant. For this reason, small and medium-sized companies are not able to penetrate this market. The bigger the company, the more money they make.
5. What do you see are the key factors driving smart card technology in government and commercial markets in the U.S.?
Up to now, there was no professional and large-scale trade show such as Cartes in Europe that covered security printing or smart cards. But starting in 2012 there will be a professional trade show for smart cards. This is good news for smart card manufacturers like KEBT. We hope to find some potential dealers through this opportunity.
6. How do you see your involvement in the Alliance helping your company?
Our joining the Smart Card Alliance gave us some benefits, such as marketing trends and information on the competitive landscape.
However, we hope to gain some more specific information about bidding opportunities in each state. For example, if the city of Chicago plans to change their traffic system or mobile payment system, we need to know this news at least a few months before this decision is made. As you know, information is a very important issue in this field.
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Ah-Young Kim / Overseas Business Division