SEJONG — South Korea will build 30,000 smart factories and 10 smart industrial zones by 2022 as part of efforts to deal with a looming decline of the country's working-age population, the finance minister said on Wednesday.
Hong Nam-ki said the number of people working at smart factories and smart industrial zones could stand at 100,000, which he said would help improve productivity.
A smart factory is a highly digitised and connected production facility aimed at improving productivity and safety at workplaces. The so-called factory of the future covers everything from design to distribution, making full use of advanced sensors, connected machines and network technologies.
The plan is the latest in a series of South Korea's efforts to cope with a rapidly aging population amid its chronically low birthrate.
South Korea's working-age population - those aged between 15 and 64 - is projected to drop sharply in coming decades.
A rapid decline in working-age population could place a heavy burden on young people to support them and add a further drag on South Korea's potential growth.
Statistics Korea forecast that the country's population is likely to reach 39 million in 2067, sharply down from an estimated 51.7 million in 2019.
The agency said people aged 65 years or older could account for 46.5 per cent of South Korea's population, which would mark a sharp rise from 14.9 per cent over the cited period. — YONHAP