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대만 기업들, 왜 이러나?


하이디스 모기업인 대만의 이잉크가 입을 굳게 다물었다.

공장은 2월까지 강제 휴업이고, 직원들은 계속되는 감원 바람에 떨고 있지만, 이잉크는 말이 없다. 

입장이 있다면, 라이센싱으로 돈 버는 건 합법적인 내용으로, 전혀 문제될 것이 없다는 정도다. 

현재 이잉크는 하이디스의 디스플레이 기술을 다른 업체들에 팔아 이익을 남기고 있지만, 기술을 개발한 하이디스 직원들조차 누구와 어떻게 계약을 맺고 있는지 조차 모르고 있다.

게다가, 노조가 아닌 하이디스 사측의 공식 입장표명이 늦어지고 있는 이유도 이잉크 때문이라는 추측이 나오고 있다.

이잉크가 그만큼 사태를 대수롭지 않게 보고 있으며, 향후에도 투자를 늘릴 생각이 없기 때문이라고 업계 관계자들은 전했다.

노조는 그저 이잉크의 솔직한 답변을 듣고 싶을 뿐이라고 했다.

노조의 배재형 지회장은 “최소한 방향을 어떻게 할건지 정도는 얘기해줘야하는거 아니냐”며 답답해했다.

그는 인수위에도 국가의 기간사업에 대해서는 기술유출을 막을 수 있는 법적인 근거가 필요하다고 강력하게 피력했다고 전했다.

현대전자의 SD 사업부로 출발한 하이디스는 지난 2008년 이잉크에 인수되기 전, 중국의 BOE 디스플레이에 매각되어 고초를 겪은 기억이 있다. 당시에 BOE에서는 회사 운영이 어려워지자 하이디스의 기술을 짬짬이 본사 쪽으로 돌려 당시 하이디스 사장이 기술유출로 실형을 선고 받았다.

현재 하이디스는 아수스(ASUS)와 구글(Google)의 합작품인 넥서스 7 제품에 납품하고 있다. (김지현 기자/ 코리아헤럴드)

<관련 영문 기사>

Taiwan’s E Ink accused of siphoning off Hydis

By Kim Ji-hyun

E Ink, the parent company of Hydis, appeared to have no concrete plans on how to run Hydis, a local manufacturer of LCDs.

Despite the uproar at the Gyeonggi Province-based company this month after its plants were forced by E Ink to shut down until Feb. 15, the Taiwan-based maker of electronic ink remained silent.

Neither the employees at Hydis nor E Ink had any clue, with E Ink stating only that it was “operating legally,” and therefore, there were no problems.

“We acquired Hydis, so it’s okay,” said one worker on the E Ink sales force. The public relations office could not be reached.

The workers at Hydis, particularly those at the plant, think differently.

“We want to know exactly what E Ink’s plans are, because so far, all we’ve found out is that we can’t trust them,” said Bae Jae-hyung, head of Hydis’ union.

The chief bone of contention for Hydis workers is the suspicion that E Ink is siphoning off the company by selling its core technology -- more specifically, the license for Hydis’ LCD technology which is considered to be just a few notches below top display makers such LG Display -- to rival companies.

The act itself may be legitimate, but in that case, Bae insists that the government must initiate legislation to prevent such leaks of technology in the future.

Those close to Hydis said they weren’t even sure of how the licensing was being handled. All they knew was that it was being sold, for a price.

“(Given the income source), I don’t believe E Ink is going to make further investments,” said one source, declining to be identified.

Adding to Hydis’ woes is the layoffs that started last year. The initial plan was to slash about 10 percent of the 1,000-strong workforce. But the number could grow, according to Bae, who said the factory was operating just three months out of the year due to a lack of funds.

This would not be the first time that Hydis suffered at the hands of a foreign owner.

Prior to E Ink’s acquisition in 2008, the display maker -- formerly a unit under Hyundai Electronics, the precursor to Hynix Semiconductor that was acquired by SK Group -- had been betrayed by China-based BOE Display.

BOE, which acquired Hydis from Hyundai, had fed Hydis’ technology to its Chinese operations.

E Ink’s electronic ink is supplied mainly to e-readers, such as Kindle, while the displays manufactured by Hydis are fitted into products such as the Nexus 7 tablet that was jointly developed by ASUS and Google.