Bets on solar cells and batteries don’t pan out

Samsung Electronics isn’t the only company looking for new growth engines. Others companies including OCI and Woongjin are on an active search for new businesses outside their current specialties.  But like the tech behemoth, many are stuck for ideas.

The idea that Korea needed new growth “engines” became popular in 2009 when the Lee Myung-bak administration said green technology, industries converging and high-end services were the keys to the nation’s economic future industries. With the government’s inspiration and encouragement, many companies have jumped into those fields – with very mixed results.

One such business is solar cells, which was once deemed the next generation of renewable energy. Today the solar battery business across the globe is in a funk because of an excessive supply flooding out of China, which has caused polysilicon prices to plummet. The price of polysilicon, which was $200 per kilogram in 2008, recently plunged to $15. And Europe, which is the world’s largest market for solar cells – accounting for more than 70 percent of demand – continues to struggle with its fiscal crisis.

For full article, see Joongang Daily.

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