The Korea Minting, Security Printing & ID Card Operating Corp. (KOMSCO) has begun supplying national electronic identification (e-ID) cards to Kyrgyzstan, the company's first exports of such cards.
"Korea has been exporting its advanced systems such as electronic government (e-government). The export of the e-ID cards is meaningful since we have been diversifying our export items," KOMSCO CEO Kim Hwa-dong said at a delivery ceremony held at the company's plant in Daejeon, Monday.
KOMSCO won the Kyrgyzstan government's $10 million contract to supply 3 million e-ID cards and related systems in September 2016. The adoption of the e-ID card is part of the Central Asian country's plan to build a resident registration system as well as set up an e-government.
Following the first shipment of 200,000 e-ID cards starting Monday, KOMSCO will deliver 3 million by the end of August. Kyrgyzstanis will be renewing their current national ID cards from next month, and the new cards will be used for identifying voters for the presidential election in November.
Korea has the infrastructure ready to adopt the e-ID card system, but hasn't done so because it has yet to reach social consensus on the issue.
"We have technology that is recognized as the top in the world, but the lack of reference was our only weakness. As we started exports to Kyrgyzstan, the weakness will be overcome," Kim added.
The global e-ID market is estimated to be around 3 trillion won, and private companies from France and Germany have dominated most of the market. Kim said that KOMSCO succeeded in overcoming the entry barrier.
The e-ID cards exported to Kyrgyzstan have an integrated circuit chip on the front that contains personal information such as nationality and fingerprint, as well as a barcode on the back that makes it easy to get the information with a reader. The card also features security features such as a hologram, color-shifting ink, micro letters, ultraviolet ink and multiple laser images.
KOMSCO has been trying to export its e-ID technology for the past 10 years, with the goal of becoming one of the global top five minting and security printing companies.
It has focused on globalization as its main driver for growth and has tried to export diverse items such as banknotes, banknote paper, e-passports, coins and cotton pulp.
KOMSCO has also been expanding its overseas markets, and exports to Central and Southeast Asian countries as well as Europe and Africa. Most recently, KOMSCO started exporting e-passports to a Southeast Asian country, on top of winning an order to export coins to a Middle Eastern country this year and next year. It did not disclose details, though.
It aims at achieving $70 million in exports this year.