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[Newsmaker] LG chairman renews commitment to R&D

LG Group chairman Koo Bon-moo has renewed his commitment to elevating the group’s research and development prowess, pledging huge new investment and more support for researchers.

“In an era of technological convergence across industries, the importance of R&D is getting bigger and bigger,” he told employees at the group’s R&D performance evaluation event in Seoul on Thursday.

“Devote yourself to developing fundamental technologies that will change the world.”

The annual event honors key R&D achievements by the group’s 10 affiliates and the chairman is said to have never missed the event, held in appreciation of researchers’ hard work over the past year.
 
LG Group chairman Koo Bon-moo inspects LG Electronics’ Art Slim LCD TV at the group’s Seocho R&D Campus in Yangjae-dong, southern Seoul, Thursday. (LG Group)
LG Group chairman Koo Bon-moo inspects LG Electronics’ Art Slim LCD TV at the group’s Seocho R&D Campus in Yangjae-dong, southern Seoul, Thursday. (LG Group)

Along with Koo, LG Electronics vice chairman Koo Bon-joon and chief technology officer Lee Hee-kook also joined the event.

Under Koo’s leadership, LG has poured considerable resources into R&D in recent years. This year, it plans to inject an additional 6.3 trillion won ($5.9 billion), the largest-ever amount per year.

“Amid increased business uncertainties around the world, we will strengthen our technological prowess and differentiate our products and services through new investment in R&D,” said a group official.

The new investment will focus especially on automotive parts for electric vehicles; energy solutions technology; next-generation display technologies such as flexible, foldable and transparent displays; new materials; and technology related to the Internet of Things.

On top of that, the group plans to invest 1 trillion won in the construction of the LG Science Park, a 4 trillion won research complex scheduled to be completed by 2020 in Magok Industrial Complex, western Seoul.

On Thursday, the group also held an award ceremony for achievements related to the group’s 23 R&D projects over the past year.

The top prize was given to LG Electronics’ operating system development team for a smart TV. Boasting better compatibility and enhanced multitasking features, the system has been adopted into LG’s new smart TV from this year.

Other winners included LG Display’s rounded plastic organic light-emitting diodes and LG Chem’s high-energy-density battery.

LG plans to offer more support for researchers. This year it has promoted 46 researchers, including seven project managers of this year’s R&D award recipient teams, as senior technical advisers.

The group has operated a unique system under which senior researchers, enjoying executive-level pay and welfare benefits, play a key role in the overall decision-making process of the group’s R&D policy.

There are currently some 370 senior researchers.

By Lee Ji-yoon (jylee@heraldcorp.com)
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