Google to lend hand in promoting Korean alphabet: Schmidt

2013-10-30 11:14

[yonhapnews] Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said Wednesday that he plans to lend support in promoting the Korean alphabet to the world, amid the rising popularity of its pop culture around the globe.

"I heard that King Sejong invented the language because he was concerned so few Koreans could communicate, that there was a division between the upper class and normal people," Schmidt said, adding Sejong was a "very clever king."

"It was a very important decision made in history," Schmidt added. "He wanted to make it easier for people in Korea to be able to organize information, 600 hundred years ago."

Schmidt's remarks came after a deal was clinched between Google and South Korea's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to cooperate in promoting the alphabet on the Internet by establishing online education contents.

The Korean alphabet, or Hangeul, was invented by King Sejong of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) in 1443 to replace older writing systems based on the Chinese script so as to broaden literacy across the general population and energetically promote learning.

The firm added it also plans to expand ties with a set of South Korean culture-related institutes, including the Korea Database Agency, to enrich its Google Cultural Institute project and promote the country's cultural heritage to the world.

"The Korean culture spans 5,000 years," Schmidt also said, comparing it to that of 15 years of the company's history. "It is a pleasure for me to learn from the richness of Korean culture and also to help it to share with the rest of the world."

The latest deal also followed an agreement inked between the two in 2011, which was also aimed at promoting the Korean culture on the Internet.

Under the 2011 deal, Google established a K-pop channel on its video website YouTube and also featured several live music concerts. South Korean pop music, known as K-pop, has secured hordes of fans in Asia, Europe and the Americas in recent years.

"Today, K-pop is everywhere, and even I had to learn how to dance Gangnam Style," Schmidt said, adding nearly 90 percent of the views tallied on K-pop videos posted on YouTube are from outside South Korea.

"Gangnam Style," a global hit released by South Korean rapper Psy, has been viewed more than 1.8 billion times since it was uploaded on YouTube on July 15, 2012.

The Internet giant also made a movie channel on YouTube featuring old Korean movies, which has attracted an average of 2,700 views from 160 countries a day, further lending support to spreading Korean culture around the globe.

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