Wednesday, December 12, 2007

[The Chosun Ilbo, December 12 2007] It Takes a Women to Be a True Gentleman, by Yang Sang-hoon

At the end of every year, political reporters are handed a questionnaire in which they are asked to answer who has shown the most gentlemanly behavior during the year. The lawmaker who gets the highest marks in the survey wins the Baekbong Gentleman Award. Baekbong was the pseudonym of La Yong-gyun, the late patriot and former house vice speaker. This year, reporters chose former Grand National Party chairwoman Park Geun-hye. It has been nine years since the award was first launched, but the credentials of its recipient have never been more convincing.
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 12 2007] Should Your Kids Get a Games Console for Christmas?

What do kids want the most for Christmas? The answer is a no-brainer: games consoles and cell phones. Some brand-savvy kids may specifically point out Nintendo. Of course, parents are reluctant to give such highly addictive devices to their children, but if they cave in, they had better brace themselves for a battle, experts warn. The Chosun Ilbo examines some of the popular myths about video games.
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 12 2007] LG Sets Sights on 100 Mil. Phone Sales

LG Electronics has set a goal of selling more than 100 million mobile phones around the world next year.

Ahn Seung-kwon, chief director of LG Electronics' mobile phone division, told a press conference on Tuesday that thanks to strong sales of the Chocolate and Shine phones, the company's handset sales are expected to top its goal of 80 million units this year.

"Since sales of new products such as the Prada phone are also smooth, we expect next year's mobile phone sales to increase by more than 25 percent," Ahn said.
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 11 2007] Korea to Host 2009 OECD World Forum

Korea will host the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's World Forum in October 2009, according to the National Statistical Office and the OECD on Monday. The forum will be the organization's largest gathering involving many of its departments including employment, labor and social affairs, the environment, and economics.
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 11 2007] Expensive Drama Was a Boondoggle, Union Claims

Rather than a high-profile success, Munhwa Broadcasting Company's recent drama "Taewangsasingi (The Four Guardian Gods of the King)" was nothing but trouble, the network's union claimed in a recent newsletter.

The union said that Bae Yong-jun, who played the leading role, was paid W6 billion (US$1=W924) to star in the series, or W250 million per episode, accounting for some 15 percent of the total production cost of W43 billion. Considering how much of the budget went to the actor, calling the show a "massive-scale" historical series was an exaggeration, the union said.


The criticism by the MBC union is evidence of changes in the status of the major networks as they endure embarrassments caused by high-profile actors or outside production companies.
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 11 2007] Seoul to Host OECD World Forum in 2009

Korea will host the third World Forum of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in October 2009. OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria said Korea was chosen to host the event from among competitors due to its active role in the international community.
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 11 2007] Korean Researcher Developing Unmanned Autos

The ROVEH, RObotic VEHicle, is a car that moves without a driver. It is a creation of Han Min-hong, a researcher at a state-funded electronics institute.

A central computer identifies the car's surroundings using a global positioning system and a camera to decide on speed and direction.

The former Korea University professor said, "ROVEH's driving is better than that of an average beginner's. Information on traffic lanes is transmitted to a computer to control the vehicle. It also measures the distance between itself and other objects through lasers."

It has taken 18 years for the researcher to develop the technology for unmanned cars, and he readily admits that at least another decade will pass before such cars reach the market.
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 7 2007] Candidates Use TV Debate to Slam Front-Runner

Korea's presidential candidates faced each other in their first televised debate on Thursday. Sponsored by the National Election Commission and held at a KBS studio in Yeouido, Seoul, the debate brought together Lee Myung-bak of the Grand National Party, Chung Dong-young of the Untied New Democratic Party, Rhee In-je of the Democratic Party, Kwon Young-ghil of the Democratic Labor Party, Moon Kook-hyun of the Creative Korea Party and independent Lee Hoi-chang. Veering from the topics of politics, unification, security and foreign policies, most of the candidates focused on attacking the GNP candidate.
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 7 2007] Future is Bright for LG Electronics as U.S. Goes Digital

LG Electronics has been described lately as the Qualcomm of the digital TV industry. That's because Qualcomm, a U.S. company, earns a sizable portion of its income from licensing key technologies to mobile phone makers. The Korean electronics giant is expected to do the same with its digital TV receiver technology.

An LG Electronics executive said on Tuesday that the company has started producing digital television set-top boxes (STBs) at its plant in China to be sold in the U.S. next month. Digital STBs convert digital TV broadcast signals to analog for people with analog TVs.

LG Electronics’ move comes as an amendment to a U.S. broadcasting law is expected to provide the company with a huge business opportunity. The law requires that all U.S. TV broadcasts must be digital by February 2009. Digital TVs sales have been soaring this year, and the STB market is likely to pick up steam among people who still own analog TVs.
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 7 2007] Police Reporters Protest Pressroom Closure

Reporters on the National Police Agency beat on Thursday issued a statement of protest after all-night sit-ins since Nov. 30 failed to prevent the closure of their pressroom. "It is people's right to know that we are determined to defend,” they said and called on the agency to end attempts under a draconian new government press policy “to obstruct press monitoring.”

"Reporters have been sticking it out with candles” in the pressroom when electricity and heating were cut off, the statement said. “This shows they are willing to defend the freedom of the press against those in power. With about 10 days remaining until election day, we reject the government’s attempt to close down pressrooms." They said police “cut off communication, electricity and heating to the pressroom. They disconnected all equipment necessary for reporters in gathering information and writing and filing stories. This government, which owes its mandate to a candlelight vigil” -- a reference to an anti-American protests in 2002 that fueled enthusiasm for the Left - “is now attempting to blow out the candles in the pressrooms." But the reporters said the government can do nothing “to prevent new candles from being lit everywhere near them."
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 7 2007] Hyundai Inks Technology Deal with German Steelmaker

Hyundai Automotive Group has signed a technology deal with Germany's ThyssenKrupp to get a new Hyundai Steel mill going as soon as possible. The mill in Dangjin, South Chungcheong Province is scheduled to begin commercial production in 2010.
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 7 2007] Hyundai Inks Technology Deal with German Steelmaker

Hyundai Automotive Group has signed a technology deal with Germany's ThyssenKrupp to get a new Hyundai Steel mill going as soon as possible. The mill in Dangjin, South Chungcheong Province is scheduled to begin commercial production in 2010.
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 7 2007] LG Turns Up Audio Profile With New Music Phone

Determined to expand its audio business, LG Electronics on Thursday released a music phone developed as a "hand-held audio system." The Rhapsody in Music phone is the first creation by audio engineer Mark Levinson since the company brought him in as a special consultant.

Levinson is a living legend in the audio industry, having designed a long list of high-end audio products since he established Mark Levinson Audio Systems at the age of 25. Now 61, Levinson helped to make sure LG's new phone has the best possible sound quality and developed an exclusive earphone for it.

The new phone features a navigating touch wheel for song browsing, sweep spot selection and volume control. It comes bundled with the album "Rhapsody, The Soul of Sound" by seven Korean singers including Sung Si-kyung and Bobby Kim.
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 6 2007] BBK Scam Inspired By Movie 'Boiler Room'

Prosecutors say the chief suspect in the so-called BBK scandal that centers on several dubious investment firms copied his operation straight from the Hollywood movie “Boiler Room”, about a fraudulent financial firm. Chief Prosecutor Kim Hong-il of the Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office, announcing the indictment of Kim Kyung-joon for embezzlement and stock manipulation on Wednesday, said investigators “confiscated a DVD of the movie ‘Boiler Room’ from the former president’s desk in the Optional Ventures office. The movie’s story is nearly identical to the scam.” Kim set up Optional Ventures when BBK folded due to forged investment reports. An official with the special investigative unit said, “Although Kim denies any relation between the scandal and the movie, the movie will help you better understand the scandal.”
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 6 2007] Chocolate Phone Sets Record With 15 Mln. Sales

LG Electronics' Chocolate phone has become the first Korean handset to sell more than 15 million units worldwide. The Chocolate phone, which has been released in about 100 countries around the world, became LG Electronics' first "10 million seller" in mid-April.

Although the phone's overall sales have been losing momentum since then, sales are increasing in Japan and countries in Central America, the Middle East and Africa where it was released later than other parts of the world.
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 6 2007] BoA’s Agency to Branch Out Into Stage Musicals

Pop stars BoA, Gang Ta, The Grace and TVXQ are to make the leap to stage musicals, which are enjoying a wave of popularity in Korea. SM Entertainment, the stars’ agency, said Wednesday it will start producing stage musicals next year. Other pop singers like Ok Ju-hyeon, Bada, Hey, Kim Tae-woo and Andy have already appeared in stage musicals to great success.

The Broadway musical “Xanadu” is highly likely to be the first show presented by SM Entertainment.
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 6 2007] Candidates Use Colors to Woo Voters

Some campaigns have been temporarily halted, but the presidential election fight goes on in other ways. In order to make an impression on voters the political camps are using colors, which not only bring joy to the eyes, but sometimes speak louder than words.

Orange, blue, yellow, red and white are the colors of this year's presidential race. Each holds a message all its own.

Chung Dong-young with the United New Democrats goes hand-in-hand with the color orange, which connotes warmth and ties into his ''happy family'' campaign theme.

It's perhaps not surprising that Lee Myung-bak has colored his campaign blue. Blue happens to be the color of his Grand National Party. Lee pledges to revive the economy and give hope to the people.
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 5 2007] Korean Military Launches New Satellite System

The Korean military will be able to remotely command its vessels and aircraft operating thousands of kilometers away from the country thanks to a new satellite communications system.

The system will cover a diameter of 12,000 km, ranging as far east as the Marshall Islands and west as the Strait of Malacca, and from northern Australia to northern Siberia.

The Agency for Defense Development (ADD) said Tuesday that it has completed the development of the military satellite communications system which began in 1996. It is the first such system built by Korea and will be put into service this month using the Mugunghwa-5 satellite, which was launched in August of last year, the ADD said.
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 5 2007] Korean TV Series Breaks New Ground in Japan

All 500 seats of a cinema in Shinjuku, Tokyo, are taken up by women of all ages, there to watch "Taewangsasingi (The Four Guardian Gods of the King),” starring Korean Wave star Bae Yong-joon. The drama is directed by Kim Jong-hak and deals with the life of King Gwanggaeto the Great, known as the “Great Expander” of ancient Korean history.

Showing a 24-episode drama one installment at a time in a theater is certainly a new experiment for the Korean Wave. The series has already been broadcast on cable TV since Dec. 3 and will be accessible for all on national network NHK TV next year. Nevertheless some 20,000 fans paid up to W20,000 (US$1=W923) to watch the drama in a theater, and some 1,000 spent W3 million on a ticket for the entire series.

The press and audience response to Bae’s new series was fulsome. Even though the man known as Yonsama in the island country appeared only fleetingly in the 70-minute episode shown on the day, they were mesmerized by the drama's scale and CGI effects. “It was a great deal more real and exciting to watch on a large screen,” said Haruko Marukawa (67). “The computer graphics were on par with 'The Lord of the Ring.'” Advertiser Koki Matsukubo (37) was impressed by the decision to show the series on the big screen. “This kind of thing doesn’t happen with Japanese drama, and I'm amazed by the idea. I’m sure other theaters will show 'Taewangsasingi ' thanks to Yonsama’s loyal fans.”
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 5 2007] For Global Chip Makers, the Future is NAND Flash

Competition in the NAND Flash memory chip market is heating up amongst the market's leaders. Widely used in digital cameras and mobile phones, NAND Flash memory is expected to lead the next-generation memory chip market, with its market size likely to reach US$21.2 billion by 2009. It has also enjoyed higher growth and a smaller price drop than DRAM used in PCs. That's why semiconductor companies are pouring their efforts into NAND Flash.

Hynix said Tuesday that it will start mass producing 16 Gb multi-level cell NAND Flash chips using its industry-leading 48-nano technology from next year. The 48-nano process is 10 percent more productive than market leader Samsung Electronics' 51-nano process, and 20 percent more productive than Toshiba's 56-nano process, Hynix said.
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 4 2007] Video Reunions to Prove Nice Little Earner for N.Korea

The Unification Ministry reportedly agreed to supply North Korea with all cameras, editing equipment and even vehicles to facilitate the exchange of video letters between families separated by the Korean War, on top of paying the North US$1,000 per video, it emerged Tuesday. The amount is 17 times the average monthly pay ($60) for a North Korean worker in the Kaesong Industrial Complex.
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 4 2007] Hynix to Start Mass Production of 48-nm Chips

Hynix Semiconductor will start mass-producing NAND-type Flash chips using 48-nanometer (nm) processing technology early next year, the first company in the world to do so. Hynix said Tuesday it has completed development of a 48-nm 16-gigabyte multi-level cell NAND Flash chip and sent samples to global customers. It will start full-scale mass-production of the chip in January. Hynix plans to increase production to between 15,000 and 20,000 units a month in the first quarter next year.

A Hynix spokesman said NAND Flash chips meet a variety of demands, since they are used for both mobile gadgets, like music phones, and for solid state drives, which are emerging as a replacement for hard discs. Hynix next plans to produce 8GB single-level cell chips using the same 48-nm process after the multi-level cell chips.
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 4 2007] Samsung Partners with Toshiba for Fusion Memory Chips

Samsung Electronics has teamed up with Toshiba to expand its domination of the fusion memory chip market.

Korea’s largest electronics maker said Monday that it signed a deal to license its OneNAND and Flex OneNAND fusion memory chip technology to the Japanese company.

Under the deal, Toshiba will produce the fusion memory chips according to Samsung’s specifications, and Samsung will provide technical support when necessary.
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 4 2007] Japanese Electronics Makers Slim Down to Move Ahead

With Korean electronics makers taking a breather, their Japanese rivals are rolling up their sleeves to transform themselves into specialists. Having lost their lead to Korea in the semiconductor, liquid crystal display and digital TV markets one by one over the past 10 years, Japanese electronics companies are doing everything they can to regain the lead in next-generation products.


By contrast, Korean companies have been criticized for doing too little to escape stagnation and take a leap forward. Experts say that some domestic electronics makers like Samsung Electronics are performing well in most business areas, but they need to prepare to compete with Japanese rivals who are turning all their know-how and capabilities toward specialized areas.

"It's no exaggeration to say that Korea and Japan equally dominated the global electronics market for the last decade," said Min Hoo-sik, an executive at Tempis Capital Management. "Now that Japanese companies are working to compete for the next-generation market, Korean companies also have to stay alert."
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 3 2007] SKT Buys Hanaro Telocom for W1 Trillion

SK Telecom, the nation's largest mobile phone service provider, announced it will buy Hanaro Telecom for more than W1 trillion (US$1=W925).

If and when the deal is finalized, the telecommunication giant will have acquired over 40 percent of Hanaro's shares, making SK Telecom the biggest stakeholder.
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 3 2007] SKT on Brink of Clinching Hanaro Takeover

Korea’s top wireless service provider SK Telecom is poised to take over Hanrao Telecom, the country’s second-largest telephone and broadband line company. An SK Telecom taskforce in charge of the takeover negotiated with a consortium of Newbridge Capital and AIG, the major shareholder in Hanaro, late into the night over the weekend.

An SK Telecom executive said Sunday the company’s board of directors decided on a per-share price ceiling and gave full authority to SK Telecom president Kim Shin-bae at a meeting on Friday. The ceiling is reportedly set at less than W13,000 (US$1=W922) per share. The executive said his company plans to clinch a final contract before Tuesday if possible and immediately announce the merger.
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 3 2007] Samsung Builds Fastest Graphics Memory Chip

Samsung Electronics said Sunday that it has developed the world's fastest graphics DRAM chip. The new 6 Gbps 512 Mb GDDR5 can process graphics data twice as fast as existing chips.

DRAM chips are divided into general-purpose chips for personal computers, graphics chips for game consoles and mobile chips for handsets, with graphics DRAM the fastest and most expensive.

With 32 input and output channels, the new chip can process 24 gigabytes of data per second, which is equivalent of 16 DVD-quality movies.
[The Chosun Ilbo, December 3 2007] Sports Marketing Going From Strength to Strength

Already Chelsea FC’s football aces all bear the logo “Samsung Mobile” on their chests, but in August next year, Samsung Electronics plans to change that to just “Samsung” to maximize brand recognition for all its electronics products.

That means Samsung Electronics will also shoulder the sponsorship fee that had so far been the responsibility of its mobile division, which supports the club with W20 billion annually (US$1=W922). “Samsung seems to have made the decision to make full use of Chelsea’s brand power because the team is showing a strong performance befitting its premier reputation,” an IT industry insider explains.

AsiaMedia :: KOREA: MySpace heads for Korea, India

AsiaMedia :: KOREA: MySpace heads for Korea, India:
"South Korea among the five countries to get a local-language MySpace website next year

The Korea Herald
Thursday, December 6, 2007

News Corp.'s MySpace will start local-language sites in South Korea and India in the first quarter to expand the world's most popular social-networking portal outside the United States. The company will offer services in 30 countries in the first quarter, from 25 at present, Sung Lee, vice president of MySpace in Asia, said in Hong Kong."

AsiaMedia :: KOREA: LG Dacom launches IPTV service

AsiaMedia :: KOREA: LG Dacom launches IPTV service:
"Korea's third-largest fixed-line operator prices its IPTV service, 'myLGtv,' 15 percent cheaper than its two rivals

The Korea Herald
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
By Jin Hyun-joo

LG Dacom, Korea's third-largest fixed-line operator, yesterday launched the broadband-based internet protocol television, intensifying competition in the market. Now there are three broadband service providers that offer the IPTV service, which they believe will serve as a new growth engine in the almost saturated telecommunications market. IPTV is expected to bring a major change in television viewing by offering viewers a wide-ranging selection of programs on demand. LG Dacom said its IPTV service, dubbed 'myLGtv,' is available through a bundled product, which also includes broadband Internet access and a telephone service. The broadband service is offered by LG Dacom's subsidiary, LG Powercom."

AsiaMedia :: KOREA: Six candidates to hold televised debate tonight

AsiaMedia :: KOREA: Six candidates to hold televised debate tonight:
"Campaign watchers and media analysts say, however, that the debate will bear little impact on undecided voters

The Korea Times
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
By Kang Hyun-kyung

Six presidential candidates will hold the first round of a television debate series today about political affairs, diplomacy, reunification and security, the National Election Commission (NEC) said. The two-hour debate will be aired by national television networks. The six are Chung Dong-young of the United New Democratic Party (UNDP); Lee Myung-bak of the Grand National Party (GNP); Kwon Young-ghil of the Democratic Labor Party (DLP); Rhee In-je of the Democratic Party (DP); Moon Kook-hyun of the Creative Korea Party (CKP); and independent Lee Hoi-chang. Each candidate will be given 20 minutes to present their policies and discuss the issues. Two more rounds of TV debate are scheduled to take place on Dec. 11 in the areas of social affairs, education, culture and gender issues, and on Dec. 16 in the fields of economy, labor, social welfare, and science and technology, according to the NEC. Campaign watchers said the impact of televised debates on the presidential race has gradually decreased over the past decade."

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

[The Chosun Ilbo, November 30 2007] 'Exploding Cell Phone' Was a Lie

The death of a quarry worker in his 30s in Cheongwon County, North Chungcheong Province on Wednesday was not caused by an exploding mobile phone but by a heavy vehicle accident, police said Thursday. Police said a colleague of the victim’s lied about the cause of death to conceal his fault.

According to Cheongju Heungdeok police in charge of investigation on this case, the colleague identified as Kwon (58), who reported the accident on Thursday, killed Seo (33) while driving a backhoe but later told police the cause of death was an exploding mobile phone in Seo’s breast pocket. Police have sought an arrest warrant for Kwon for negligence resulting in death.
[The Chosun Ilbo, November 30 2007] Korea Builds Unmanned Tilt-Rotor Plane

Korea has developed an unmanned aircraft that can take off vertically by spinning its propellers like a helicopter and then level off by tilting them forward.

The Smart UVA Development Center under the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy said Thursday that it successfully tested the unmanned tilt-rotor aerial vehicle at the Korea Aerospace Research Institute's aviation center in Goheung, South Jeolla Province on Nov. 22. The center also successfully conducted another test of the aircraft in a publicity event on Thursday morning.
[The Chosun Ilbo, November 30 2007] If You Build It, Will They Come?

Gyeonggi Province recently signed a memorandum of understanding with a representative of Universal Parks & Resorts of the U.S. to build a theme park on reclaimed land near Sihwa Lake. The provincial government says it will be a supersize park with a golf course, a convention center, a hotel and a condominium. Other talks are also under way to build a Hallyuwood park in Goyang to capitalize on the Korean Wave, and a theme park with a 108-hole golf course in Pocheon, both in Gyeonggi Province. Siheung City in the same province is currently negotiating with MGM Studios to build yet another theme park. Other areas in Gyeonggi Province, such as New Songdo City, a special economic zone in the province, Cheongna district, and Yeongjong Island, have also set their eyes on theme parks. Other regions, including Taean in South Chungcheong Province and Busan, are considering building theme parks of their own.


Korea surely needs world-class theme parks. But we are mistaken if we believe that sufficient numbers of foreign tourists will be enchanted by the brand names of such theme parks alone.
[The Chosun Ilbo, November 30 2007] How Stars Dress for the Red Carpet

A glimpse of true glamour graced the red carpet at the Blue Dragon Awards last Friday, when Korea’s most beautiful actresses wore some of the most stunning dresses the fashion world could produce.
[The Chosun Ilbo, November 30 2007] Korea Wins in DRAM Dispute With Japan

The World Trade Organization in Geneva has ruled in favor of Korea's claims that punitive duties Japan imposed on chips from Korea's Hynix Semiconductor were discriminatory. The ruling ends a nearly two-year dispute over Japan's taxation on Korean-made DRAM chips.

The WTO's Dispute Settlement Body ruled against Japan's countervailing duties imposed on the chips, saying they violate the world body's convention on subsidies.
[The Chosun Ilbo, November 29 2007] Bringing Universal Studios Requires a Sure Strategy

Gyeonggi Province, the city of Hwaseong and the Korea Water Resource Corp. have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with a representative of Universal Parks & Resorts of the U.S. to create a Universal Studios theme park, golf course, convention center, hotel, shopping mall and comprehensive resort facilities. The theme park and resort, which will be built on a tidal flat south of Sihwa Lake in Hwaseong, will cover a 4.7 million sq.m area, more than double the size of the Universal theme parks in Orlando, Florida (1.8 million sq.m) and Los Angeles (1.69 sq.m). If a formal contract is signed in the first half of next year as scheduled, then the facility is expected to open in March of 2012 after W2.9 trillion (US$1=W931) in Korean and foreign investments.
[The Chosun Ilbo, November 29 2007] Copycats Hollowing Out Korea’s Internet Industry

What took a full year to achieve in the past now takes only a month. In the IT era, the 1990s are a long time ago. A memory from that historic time is the rivalry among word processor software developers. Lee Chan-jin, dubbed the "Bill Gates of Korea", made a great success of his Hangul software, and other software makers followed suit to develop word processor software of their own. As a result, domestic and foreign word processor software makers such as Papyrus, Saimdang, AmiPro, Gulsarang, and Arirang -- companies whose names nobody now remembers -- competed fiercely with each other. A few years later, almost all of them were gone. Only Microsoft Word and Hangul managed to survive, and the word processor market ceased to exist.


Korea has already been overtaken by Japan and other countries in terms of the super-speed Internet infrastructure, which we once took credit for leading. Korean businesses are busy copying other people's ideas instead of developing innovative technologies of their own. It feels like a the death knell of the Korean Internet industry.
[The Chosun Ilbo, November 29 2007] Seoul City Requests W39 Bil. for Publicity Blitz

With an ambitious aim to attract 12 million foreign visitors in 2008, the city of Seoul wants to hike its public relations budget for next year eight-fold to a whopping W39.2 billion (US$1=W931).

The figure is almost four times higher than the Government Information Agency's PR budget of W10.9 billion. The city's PR budget for this year was W4.8 billion.

Seoul said on Wednesday it has decided to launch an aggressive marketing campaign in foreign media, from newspapers to Internet to broadcasters.

The draft budget includes W20.6 billion to air advertisements about the city on foreign cable networks such as CNN and with terrestrial broadcasters in China and Japan, W3.2 billion for Internet ads on foreign web portals including Yahoo and Google, W3 billion for magazine ads and W2 billion for billboards in major foreign cities.
[The Chosun Ilbo, November 29 2007] LG.Philips LCD Settles Taiwan Patent Dispute

LG.Philips LCD said Tuesday that it has reached an agreement with a Taiwanese company on an out-of-court settlement for alleged patent violations. Chunghwa Picture Tubes will pay compensation to the Korean-Dutch joint venture, ending five years of legal wrangling between the two.
[The Chosun Ilbo, November 29 2007] Exploding Phone Kills N.Chungcheong Man

A man in his 30s was killed on Wednesday in what is believed to have been a mobile-phone explosion. Around 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, a worker at a quarry in Cheongwon County, North Chungcheong Province found the backhoe operator identified as Seo (33). The worker told police he found Seo lying beside his backhoe and bleeding from the nose. His phone was on fire. The worker put out the fire and called emergency services. Seo was taken to hospital but pronounced dead on arrival.


Seo used the latest slide phone released by a leading Korean electronics company in April. In June, the press reported that a 22-year-old welder was killed at a steel mill in Lanchow in China’s Gansu Province after the mobile phone in his chest pocket exploded. This was the first time a mobile-phone explosion has killed a person in Korea.

The maker of the phone in question says the gadget was equipped with a lithium polymer battery, an improved and safer version of lithium-ion batteries, adding there had been no reports on explosions of the new batteries before.
[The Chosun Ilbo, November 29 2007] A Chapter Ends: KT to Close Telegraph Service

KT has decided to shut down its telegraph service, Korea's first electronic communications system. The company said Wednesday that it will spin off its telegraph business division to create a new company due to noticeable decrease in demand.

Korea's largest fixed-line and Internet service provider said that the division will likely post sales of W13.3 billion (US$1=W931) for the year, a more than 30 percent fall from W19.1 billion in 2004. Sales are expected to slow to 3.72 million telegrams for 2007, down from 5.37 million in 2004.

"With all the sophisticated technologies like email and text messaging available, fewer people are sending telegrams," a KT staffer said. "It was once an essential service, but now, despite our efforts, it is impossible to turn the business around."
[The Chosun Ilbo, November 29 2007] Election Advertising Blizzard Starts

The election advertising campaign by political parties and presidential candidates kicked off in earnest with attempts to attract the attention of 37 million voters on Wednesday. The two largest parties, the United New Democratic Party and the Grand National Party were naturally at the forefront.


On the Internet, the GNP’s Lee Myung-bak and the UNDP’s Chung Dong-young can be seen in a rash of video clips. The GNP decided to spend about W5 billion on Internet advertising to expose its candidate to the netizens a total of some 30 billion times. The UNDP will pour about W3 billion into online advertising. The parties will also send text messages to voters -- the GNP a total of 35 million and the UNDP a total of 2 million. For e-mail advertising, which is free and allowed limitlessly, the GNP has already obtained the addresses of some 300,000 people and the UNDP is preparing to follow suit.


Such a massive PR blitz is pie-in-the-sky for minor candidates. Independent and twice-defeated presidential candidate Lee Hoi-chang, who is currently the runner-up in the approval ratings, said, "I didn't know that it would be so difficult for an independent candidate to conduct a campaign. Such a hugely expensive campaign is impossible for me." Lee plans to put 10 ads in newspapers, and 15 ads each in TV and radio. He almost gave up the idea of TV speeches, which cost the most, but is now considering making three five-minute speeches on TV in the last stage of his campaign.
[The Chosun Ilbo, November 29 2007] Samsung Eyes 20% Share of Handset Market

Samsung Electronics plans to boost outsourcing next year in hopes of selling over 200 million cell phones and reach its 20 percent market share goal.

A company official said on Wednesday that Samsung's rate of growth is already twice as fast as overall growth in the handset market and it expects to boost production through new and existing factories.
[The Chosun Ilbo, November 28 2007] World Expo Boasts 156-Year History

Residents of Yeosu are elated at the prospect of hosting the 2012 World Expo after the 142nd General Assembly of the Bureau of International Expositions in Paris on Monday plumbed for the Korean port city. So what is it about the event that has so many people excited and where did it all begin?


Since the first London event, world expos have been held 93 times, mostly in Europe and the United States. In Asia only Korea and Japan have hosted this global event. Yeosu will become the second city in Korea to host a world expo after the heartland city of Daejeon held the event in 1993.
[The Chosun Ilbo, November 28 2007] LG Shine Phone Sold 5 Million Units Worldwide

LG Electronics said Tuesday its Shine cell phone has sold five million units in the 13 months since it was introduced in the domestic market and nine months after its overseas debut. An average of 500,000 of the stainless steel-plated phones were sold each month before the fourth quarter. But sales soared to 1 million in November.
[The Chosun Ilbo, November 28 2007] Yeosu Expo Must Serve as Catalyst for Korea's Upgrade

The earnest hopes of the residents of Yeosu, with a population of less than 300,000, ended up moving the world. Overcoming the pain of defeat, Yeosu was chosen as the host of the World Expo 2012. This is a proud victory achieved through the cooperation and ceaseless efforts of the private and public sectors, including the residents of Yeosu, the Korean people, as well as regional and central governments.

The World Expo, which is a global exhibition and festival offering a path of development and an image of the future for humankind, was first held in London in 1851 to become one of the world's three major events besides the Olympics and the World Cup. The World Expo is not just a one-off event. Previous expositions have served as opportunities to upgrade the image and economies of the host cities and nations.
[The Chosun Ilbo, November 28 2007] S.Korean IT Leaders to Talk Cooperation in Pyongyang

The two Koreas will step up cooperation in the IT sector amid brisk inter-Korean economic cooperation since an inter-Korean summit in early October. According to the Unification Ministry on Tuesday, heads of eight South Korean IT companies, including Dasan Networks CEO Nam Min-woo, will leave for Pyongyang on Wednesday at the invitation of North Korean authorities. They will discuss measures to facilitate inter-Korean IT cooperation with officials of North Korea’s Samcholli General Corp. during a four-day stay that ends on Dec. 1.
[The Chosun Ilbo, November 28 2007] Samsung to Mass Produce Mobile RFID Reader Chips

Samsung Electronics said Tuesday that it will start mass producing mobile RFID reader chips next month.
RFID stands for radio frequency identification, and RFID reader chips allow devices to wirelessly retrieve information on products that have electronic tags embedded in their packaging.

For example, an MP3 player equipped with one of the new RFID reader chips could play music from an album just by holding the player up to the RFID-tagged album packaging. A microwave oven with a reader chip could automatically set the cooking time for frozen food by retrieving the information from a RFID tag in the food box.
[The Chosun Ilbo, November 28 2007] Location Chosen for Universal Studios in Korea

A Universal Studios theme park and resort will be built in the Songsan Green City development in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province.
Gyeonggi Province, the city of Hwaseong, the Korea Water Resource Corp. and consortium USK said on Tuesday that they signed a memorandum of understanding for the W2.9 trillion (US$1=W929) theme park.
[The Chosun Ilbo, November 27 2007] Yeosu Wins World Expo Bid

The port city of Yeosu has been selected to host the 2012 World Expo, beating Morocco’s Tangier. The Paris-based International Exhibitions Bureau announced Yeosu as the host city of the 2012 event at its 142nd general assembly on Tuesday morning. The Korean city won 77 votes from 140 IBE members and the Moroccan city 63. Poland’s Wroclaw was eliminated in the first round, garnering 13 votes to Yeosu’s 68 votes and Tangier’s 59. Yeosu and Tangier then went into a second round. The last Korean city to host a World Expo was Daejeon as recently as 1993. Korea and Japan are the only Asian countries to have hosted the event. The Chinese city of Shanghai is to host it in 2010.
[The Hankyoreh, December 6 2007] LG Telecom voices concern over SK Telecom's takeover of Hanarotelecom

The top executive of LG Telecom Ltd., South Korea's smallest mobile carrier, expressed concerns Thursday over a recently announced takeover deal by its bigger rival SK Telecom Co. of a local broadband Internet operator.
The LG executive urged the government to take measures to guarantee fair competition.

"We are very concerned about the deal," Jung Il-jae, LG Telecom CEO, told a press conference, referring to SK Telecom Co.'s move to purchase a controlling stake in Hanarotelecom Inc., the nation's second-largest Internet service provider. "The government should consider ways to reduce anti-competitive market conditions that could be triggered by the takeover deal."

The remarks come after SK Telecom announced on Monday that it has signed an official contract to buy a 38.89 percent stake in Hanarotelecom for 1.08 trillion won (US$1.17 billion). The takeover deal is subject to government endorsement and SK Telecom said it is preparing the necessary documents.
[The Hankyoreh, December 1 2007] Cursing Granny’s castigation

Grand National Party presidential candidate Lee Myung-bak is facing criticism for a recent television advertisement in which he visits a hole-in-the-wall restaurant where the owner, Cursing Granny, tells Lee to “stop fighting with all them politicians ’n fix the economy.”
[The Hankyoreh, November 30 2007] The main opposition GNP wages war with the media

MBC unionists criticize GNP's harsh stance as media oppression and blackmailing

The main opposition Grand National Party has virtually declared war against MBC, which has been airing the BBK fraud case as its main story, inciting MBC’s labor union to fight back, saying that the GNP’s actions are akin to “media oppression.” Ahead of the prosecution’s interim report on its investigation into the BBK case, which is scheduled to be released on December 5, the battlefield of the GNP has spilled over into media.

On November 29, the GNP refused to take part in MBC’s public debate program “100-Minute Discussion.” Nine GNP lawmakers also visited MBC to directly deliver their protests to the broadcaster’s president, Choi Moon-soon. While the GNP claims its actions were justified as a way to defend itself from malicious propaganda, critics say that the GNP deserves the criticism that it is trying to tame the media for reporting on stories that were critical of Lee Myung-bak.


A lawmaker who is close to the media said, “The GNP’s harsh response is understandable because, for now, there is a state of war. But if it wins the presidential election, the GNP should change its attitude.” The lawmaker continued, “President Roh, despite some of his achievements, has been blamed for taking a hostile stance against some of the nation’s newspapers.”
[The Hankyoreh, November 26 2007] Celebrating the 2012 Yeosu Expo

Thousands of people in Yeosu, the southernmost port city of South Korea located in South Cheolla Province, celebrate in front of Yeosu City Hall on November 27, as they get the news that Yeosu was chosen to host the 2012 World Expo. Fireworks seen behind the jubilant people boosted the festive mood.

The hosting of the 2012 World Expo is expected to provide momentum for the prosperity and growth of the port city.
[The Hankyoreh, November 26 2007] Yeosu wins bid to host World Expo in 2012

The South Korean port city of Yeosu Monday won the right to host the 2012 World Expo, fending off a challenge from Tangiers of Morocco and Wroclaw of Poland to hold the global industrial fair.

In the voting at the 142nd General Assembly of the Paris-based Bureau of International Expositions (BIE), which selects the host city for the internationally recognized event, the southern coastal city obtained a majority with 77 votes. Tangiers received 63 votes.
[The Hankyoreh, November 26 2007] Universal Studios to build new theme park in South Korea by 2012

Universal Parks & Resorts, its local partners and the government of Gyeonggi province will sign a memorandum of understanding on Tuesday calling for the construction of a Universal Studios theme park at a seaside location in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi province, by 2012, the provincial government said Monday.
[The Hankyoreh, November 26 2007] [Column] Monitoring the truth in the information age

While closely watching the leakage of test questions at Gimpo Foreign Language High School as the parent of a middle school third-grader, I thought about how it would have been if the incident had happened in the 1990s, when I was a local news reporter. At that time, I went around private institutions gathering information or gathering information if I was lucky.

The incident was revealed by two students who failed to pass Gimpo Foreign Language High School’s entrance exam. If this had happened in the 1990s, the two students would have remained unidentified informants and honor would have been restored to the reporter who was given the information. Back then, reporters could get exclusive stories only if they received telephone tips from readers, and readers did not have the opportunity to disclose the truth without using the media.

Now, readers have the means to inquire, collect and disseminate information on their own. In connection with the leakage of exam questions at the high school, two students made an Internet cafe, a task which takes less than 10 minutes to accomplish. The cafe was widely known to people as netizens logged into the site which, as an increasing number of people gave evidence in the case, became a central point for those who wanted to clarify the truth. Netizens simultaneously began to spread information. Up to two weeks before the school acknowledged the incident and police announced the results of its investigation, the Internet cafe worked as a more important point of reference than any of the traditional media outlets.


The cafe was filled with requests for interviews posted by the print and broadcast media. The two informants, who in the past would have remained unnamed and gone without credit, are now in a position to chose which media outlets they want to talk to. This in some situations means that the control of information has shifted to media users. These users now have the ability to organize information by themselves. However one must not forget that this is true only when the information is based on the truth.