Hyundai to invest $1 billion in automotive material development

Hyundai Motor Group on Monday announced a new investment plan worth 1.12 trillion won ($1 billion) as part of its efforts to elevate its competitiveness in next-generation automotive material development. The Korean auto giant, which owns the Hyundai and Kia brands, said it would build two factories that produce specialty steel and high-quality iron powder ― the two key materials used in vehicle engines and transmissions.

The latest investment plan, the carmaker said, comes as a growing number of global automotive companies are teaming up with auto parts manufacturers with an aim to secure their competitive edge in the market.

Hyundai Steel, the second-largest Korean steelmaker and a Hyundai affiliate, plans to complete the construction work of the specialty steel plant by September near its Dangjin steel mill in South Chungcheong Province. Its production is scheduled to start in the latter half of this year, with an annual output nearing 1 million tons.

For full article, see Korea Herald.

LGE begins sale of curved OLED TVs

LG Electronics said on Monday that it will begin accepting pre-orders for its 55-inch curved OLED TVs in Korea to once again show that it intends to stay ahead of Samsung Electronics in terms of OLED technology. The announcement marks the first time that a Korean company, including Samsung, has commercialized both flat screen and curved OLED TVs. The flat screen OLED TVs have started to ship to local customers in February.

Over 1,400 LG retail stores here have started to take orders on this day, the Seoul-based company said, adding that deliveries will begin next month for this flagship size model. The premium TVs are priced at around 15 million won. OLED is cited as a next generation panel technology that’s designed to be more energy-efficient and offer better picture quality.

“Our Curved OLED TV is not only the proof of LG’s unmatched leadership in next-generation displays but also a testament to LG’s commitment to bringing to market the most exciting TV technology available today,” said Kwon Hee-won, President and CEO of LG’s Home Entertainment Company.

For full article, see Korea Herald.

R&D related imports for reduced customs duties adjusted

The Ministry of Strategy and Finance has adjusted the number of items that may qualify for the 80 percent R&D-related Customs Duties Reduction and these changes will take effect beginning in July. The R&D Related Customs Duties Reduction is aimed at encouraging corporate R&D activities by granting an 80 percent customs duties reduction when corporations with research centers import goods for research purposes.

The number of items that qualify for the customs duties reduction will be reduced from 261 to 220, with 33 items newly added and 74 removed. The adjustment was made to reflect demand changes and FTA tariffs. The government is expecting the adjusted customs duties reduction will help promote corporate R&D activities. New items will include devices necessary for developing semiconductor- or electronic parts-related products, such as digital microscopes, balance machines and flatness inspection.

For full article, see Maeil Business.

E-book market to expand 80% in 2013: analysts

2014_04_ebookThe South Korean market for electronic books (e-books) is expected to grow 80 percent this year on the back of rising demand for services on mobile devices, local analysts said Wednesday.

According to Taurus Investment & Securities Co., the size of the local market for e-books is anticipated to reach 583 billion won ($519.8 million) in 2013, compared to 325 billion won tallied a year earlier.

Market watchers said the increase is mainly attributable to the rising number of South Koreans holding smartphones and tablet computers, while more local publishers set their sights on the e-books industry.

“The demand for e-books will continue to increase in the future due to the availability of mobile devices sized 5-inches and above, which makes electronic contents more readable,” said Kim Ji-hyo, a researcher at Taurus Investment.

For full article, see Korea Herald.

Goverment to raise share of R&D budget for SMBs to 18 pct by 2017

????³?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????­????????????????????????­????????­??³????É??????????­????????????????????­??????????????³?????????????The South Korean government determined to allocate a higher share of its total budget for research and development (R&D) to small-sized and mid-sized companies over the next five years. The share will go up 4.4 percentage points to 18.0 percent by 2017.

The government also decided to increase R&D investment in sectors that deal with the aging, disabilities, diseases, tourism, education and social services as their performance is highly linked to the public’s quality of life.

Such decision was reached at a meeting of national science and technology evaluation committee convened by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning Wednesday.

In a bid to promote a science and technology-based creative economy and bring happiness to people, the ministry proposed four major goals of supporting R&D so that it can 1) bolster a creative economy; 2) bring happiness to people; 3) enhance key capacities for innovative and creative science and technology, and 4) improve the government’s R&D investment system.

For full article, see Maeil Business.

Samsung to field a bigger ultra HD lineup

Samsung Electronics will further diversify its ultra high-definition (UHD) TV lineup in response to upbeat forecasts for the segment. Its executive in charge of the European market said on Saturday the world’s No. 1 TV producer will introduce several models on top of the currently available 85-inch and 110-inch sets at the IFA consumer electronics fair in September.

“Samsung is going to increase significantly its UHD line,” said Michael Zoeller, the company’s European director for TV/AV, at the IFA Global Press Conference. While declining to reveal details of the new models, he said they will have screens both larger and smaller than 85 inches.

UHD boasts four times the resolution of ordinary HD. The UHD screen is a TV equivalent of the iPhone’s Retina screen, meaning its pixels are so small as to be nearly invisible. Samsung launched sales of its first UHD television – the 85-inch S9 – on Jan. 14 in Korea at 40 million won ($35,730). In Europe, the S9 will be released in London in four weeks with a price tag of more than 40,000 euros ($52,248), according to Zoeller.

The Korean tech titan showcased its 110-inch UHD TV – the world’s largest – at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January, but has yet to announce its release schedule or target countries. LG Electronics, Samsung’s major rival, has unveiled 55-, 65- and 84-inch UHD TVs.

For full article, see Jongang Daily.

Government and firms to jointly invest in independent memory chip research

The government and six private companies will jointly invest in research and development (R&D) of new technologies by a third party, the commerce ministry said Thursday. An investment agreement was signed Thursday between the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and six private firms, including the world’s largest memory chipmaker Samsung Electronics Co. and SK hynix.

Under the agreement, the government and the six companies will jointly invest 25 billion won (US$22.27 million) over the next five years in R&D projects by universities or other independent institutes to develop new materials or technology for memory chips. The program will be the first of its kind as previous arrangements for joint R&D investment mostly entailed government support for R&D activities by the firms themselves.

For full article, see Yonhap News.

Science & ICT ministry to focus on technology upgrades, job creation

South Korea’s ministry in charge of science, information and technology said Thursday that it will create jobs by fostering an environment for business start-ups and bringing the country’s scientific research close to a world-class level.

In a briefing on 2013 policy plans to President Park Geun-hye, the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning said it will launch a government-wide project under which social issues such as food safety and environmental accidents could be resolved through scientific technology. “In order to create an environment for business start-ups, the ministry will extend support and strengthen policy coordination with related agencies,” the ministry said. “The ministry will launch a project to create 10 new industries by 2017 through combination of science, ICT and culture.”

Under the ministry’s plan, a total of 408,000 new jobs will be created by 2017, about 90,000 of which are to come from business start-ups.

For full article, see Yonhap News.

Korea’s wireless data traffic doubles in year

???????????????????????????????????South Korea’s wireless date traffic jumped at a faster clip in a year as 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) service has become widely available. Notably, the share of data traffic through the LTE service surpassed 50 percent of the total.

The total wireless data traffic grew from 29,748 terabytes (TB) in January 2012, 41,985 TB in June to 47,581 TB, according to a recent data released by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning. The number went up 196 percent on-year to reach as high as 58,262 TB in January.

The figure includes traffic on the second generation (2G) Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA), 3G Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) and 4G LTE, offered by telecom operators. The number excluded data traffic on the WiFi service as it is an option relative to other forms of wireless services.

For full article, see Maeil Business.

Busan facility can recycle just about anything

2013_04_busan_recyclingAt the Saenggok eco-recycling plant in Gangseo District, Busan, combustible waste is turning into another source of fuel energy.  When the JoongAng Ilbo visited Busan E&E April 9, trash was moving on a long conveyor belt to dry, which would then be used as fuel for a power plant located next to the plant. The eco-recycling plant burns 900 tons of trash for a period of 16 hours a day, generating 25 megawatts of electricity per hour.

The garbage that usually is buried in a landfill generates nearly 25 billion won ($22 million) worth of energy a year through the recycling process. Saenggok eco-recycling center is the largest in the country at 1.16 million square meters (287 acres).

The Busan Metropolitan Government invested 20.24 billion won to further upgrade the facility, which was built in 1994. At the complex are seven recycling facilities, some of which are in full operation while some are partly operational.  Each facility sorts out what could be recycled to be used as fuel with conveyor belts.

For full article, see Joongang Daily.