Interestingly enough, it looks like South Korea is going to be spending more government money in R&D and innovation.  (see article here)In more than a decade in the electronics industry, and with some interaction with Korean companies, you can get the impression that at least some Korean companies are on the rise.   They seem to be more aggressive than their Japanese counterparts, and have a motivated government behind them. 

I remember watching a documentary about the South Korea’s “Industrial Revolution” in the early 60s.  Quite an interesting time for South Korea, but with aid from the US and Japan, and a military leader’s firm belief in industrialization, South Korea leapt into the modern century starting with a steel mill.  It was actually quite an impressive transformation–South Korea hasn’t looked back since.  (Here’s a few wiki-facts on the Park Chung Hee, the leader at the start of this transformation)  We’ll see if this current wave of government support will spawn innovation in new areas.