LG pursuing 3D technology standard

Three-dimensional (3D) technology is LG Electronics’ weapon of choice. Its aggressiveness to promote its in-house film-patterned retarder (FPR) 3D technology has secured another beachhead with a plant in Mexico. It is confidant of making its FPR 3D technology the industry standard.

Inspired by a sharp rise in market share in countries from North and South America and the recent support from Japan’s Sony and Panasonic to use its technology, LG Display has opened its first plant in Mexico, mainly to produce modules for FPR 3D televisions.

“More customers are asking us to supply more FPR panels for use in 3D televisions. We just want to assert that LG is ideally-positioned for on-time delivery, committed to producing high quality products and offering better pricing by setting up a new factory in Mexico,’’ said LG Display spokeswoman Kang Moon-jeong.

The new module plant is the seventh after two plants in South Korea in Gumi and Paju, three in China in Guangzhou, Nanjing and Yentai and one in Wroclaw, Poland.

For full article see Korea Times.

Korea’s atomic power industry faces challenge

A string of breakdowns, aging reactors and aftereffects of the Fukushima meltdown have come together to trigger the biggest crisis in Korea’s nuclear industry since its birth.

With a parliamentary election less than three weeks away, some opposition candidates are joining forces to call for the scrapping of atomic energy plants. The intensifying political onslaught, emboldened by safety jitters among the public, poses further challenges to President Lee Myung-bak, who seeks to transform the country into a leading reactor exporter.

Against all odds, the government is pushing to boost nuclear energy to 59 percent of total electricity supplies by 2030 from some 30 percent now. It plans to add 19 to the existing 23 reactors, the second-largest power source after coal.

For full article see Korea Herald.

KAIST ranks 5th globally in patent applications

The Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (Kaist) ranked fifth worldwide in the number of international patent applications from a university last year, according to a recent report. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a UN agency established in 1967, revealed in its report released on published international patent applications by top universities earlier this month that in 2011 there were a total of 103 applications filed by Kaist last year. It had almost doubled the number of its applications since 2010.

One of the school’s many inventions include an ultraslim module connector for smartphones and cameras which could significantly reduce the width of the device developed by Professor Paik Kyung-Wook of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Kaist with his team of researchers last year.

Academic institutions made up 5.9 percent of all patent applications submitted last year, according to the WIPO report. In other words, out of a total of 181,900 patents filed, 17,320 were filed by universities. Patent applications on the whole grew by 10.7 percent compared to 2010, the fastest growth since 2005, WIPO revealed.

For full article, see Joongang Daily.

Simple, Cheap Way to Mass-Produce Graphene Nanosheets

CLEVELAND, OH, USA- Graphene, which is made from graphite, the same stuff as “lead” in pencils, has been hailed as the most important synthetic material in a century. Sheets conduct electricity better than copper, heat better than any material known, are harder than diamonds yet stretch.

Scientists worldwide speculate graphene will revolutionize computing, electronics and medicine but the inability to mass-produce sheets has blocked widespread use.

A description of the new research will be published the week of March 26 in the online Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The story is embargoed until Monday, March 26, 2012 at 3 p.m. U.S. Eastern time

Jong-Beom Baek, professor and director of the Interdisciplinary School of Green Energy/Advanced Materials & Devices, Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, Ulsan, South Korea, led the effort.

“We have developed a low-cost, easier way to mass produce better graphene sheets than the current, widely-used method of acid oxidation, which requires the tedious application of toxic chemicals,” said Liming Dai, professor of macromolecular science and engineering at Case Western Reserve and a co-author of the paper.

To read how, see full article: Korea IT Times

Scientists develop stem cells that may help treat dementia

A joint research team from Korea and Germany said Friday they have created stem cells that have the potential to help treat people suffering from dementia and spinal cord trauma. Scientists from Konkuk University and the Max Planck Institute said they have successfully used somatic cells from mice to create so-called induced neural stem cells (iNSCs) that can be cultivated for over a year under laboratory conditions.

The iNSCs have also been injected into the brains of mice and differentiated into various nerve cells without growing into malignant tumors.

“The discovery marks the first time ordinary somatic cells have been artificially engineered to become adult stem cells,” said Han Dong-wook, a professor of stem cell biology at Konkuk, who led the research.

For full article see Korea Times.

Samsung offers partners R&D funds

Samsung Group said on Thursday that it would offer 770.7 billion won ($682.3 million) as research and development funds to its partner firms this year at its event held to promote fair trade and mutual growth.

At the event organized at Samsung’s office in southern Seoul, 11 Samsung affiliates signed a treaty with 3,270 primary suppliers, while they also signed treaties with 1,269 secondary suppliers, according to company officials.
It was attended by representatives from the Fair Trade Commission, Commission on Shared Growth for Large and Small Companies, Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Federation of Korean Industries and the Korea Federation of Small Businesses as well as its 11 affiliates.

For full article see Korea Herald.

SK takes a highly technical approach to going global

This year, SK Group aims to increase its exports by utilizing its unique research and development system, dubbed R&BD+E. The R&BD+E system – which stands for resource and business development plus engineering – is supposed to minimize risks in starting new businesses through close scrutiny by engineering experts.

SK Group, which owns Korea’s No. 1 telecommunications company, is more recognized for its domestic service businesses rather than being a manufacturer contributing to the country’s exports. So it was a surprise earlier this month when the third-largest conglomerate said that exports of its seven manufacturing subsidiaries – SK Innovation, SK Energy, SK Global Chemical, SK Lubricants, SKC, SK Chemical, SK Networks – accounted for 70 percent of their total sales in the first two months of the year.

The family-run group has now set an ambitious goal: to become a “genuinely global business” by increasing exports and expanding operations abroad. “We aim to take a third quantum jump this year with our unique R&BD+E system,” the company announced this week.

LTE phone sales will outnumber 3G phone sales in March

South Korea’s fourth generation long-term evolution (LTE) smartphones, first launched in October last year, are expected to outperform their predecessor 3G smartphones in terms of new monthly subscribers only six months since they entered the race.

LTE phones sold only 4,000 units in the initial launch in September last year, but made a swift rise to 1.17 million units by October. So far this year, new LTE subscribers have been averaging over 0.7 million each month, sources in the mobile sector disclosed Wednesday.

The number of new LTE subscribers reached 746,000 in February, nipping at the heels of 3G subscribers which added up to 781,000. At this rate, new LTE subscribers will exceed 800,000 by March and beat its 3G rivals which are expected to see stale performance in the 700,000 range.

For full article see Maeil Business.

Korea to spend $1.61 bn in energy R&D in 2012

South Korea’s Ministry of Knowledge Economy (MKE) will be setting aside 1.821 trillion won ($1.61 billion) for energy-related research and development.

The government will be injecting 1.821 trillion won in 19 projects belonging to four categories of energy and resource development, new and renewable energy, electric and nuclear energy, and radioactive waste management, the MKE disclosed Tuesday.

The ministry’s energy R&D focus this year will be on boosting the marketability of core energy products and improving the efficiency and safety of energy-guzzling products frequently used by low-income households and senior consumers.

To promote shared growth between large companies and smaller enterprises, all sizeable projects will require the participation of medium-sized companies or small and mid-sized businesses.

For full article see Maeil Business.

Design: driving force of Korea’s auto industry

Design chiefs of Korean carmakers. Source Korea Times.

The Korean automotive industry is flying high.

Hyundai Motor Group, which owns both Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors, sold over 1.13 million vehicles in the United States last year, breaking the 1-million-plateau for the first time in the world’s most important market.

GM Korea, which introduced the Chevrolet brand last March, launched eight new cars in Korea in nine months and achieved record high sales.

Renault Samsung Motors emerged as French automaker Renault’s strategic center in Asia, exporting more than 137,000 of its key models with the Renault badge ― up 19 percent from a year ago despite disruptions in supply of auto parts after the massive earthquake in Japan.

Kia’s K5 sedan and Sportage R SUV swept major international design awards while Hyundai’s YF Sonata became the best-selling Korean car ever in the United States and China largely because of its design.

For full article see Korea Times.