Wednesday, February 20, 2008

[ News, Science / Tech, January 2 2008] Korea to unveil new bullet train

Korea will be the fourth country to run a next-generation bullet train with domestic technology, following France, Germany and Japan.

The Ministry of Construction and Transportation in Seoul announced the completion of express rail construction that began in 1996.

The dolphin-headed KTXⅡ can run up to 352 kilometers per hour and will be run on the Honam line from 2009.

KTX Ⅱ made its public debut at the Korea Railways Fair 2007 in Busan in May 2007. The model underwent its first test runs in 2002 after the start of the project in 1996. The KTXⅡ recorded a top speed of 352.4 kilometers per hour in 2004, and has had 200,000 kilometers of test runs without an accident.
[ News, Science / Tech, December 29 2007] Future growth engine program and hi-tech in 2020

By Cho Young-hwa
President, Korea Institute of Science & Technology Evaluation and Planning

What was our life like 13 years ago?

We would page friends who were late for an appointment; they would be at a loss to do anything because there was no way to contact anybody while on a bus. We also carried our documents in huge discs, and were happy to watch dramas on 14-inch TVs.

But 13 years later in the year 2007, we contact people through our mobile phones at any time, carry our documents on tiny USB memory sticks, and watch dramas on PMPs while walking on the streets.

What was unimaginable in the past is a reality to us now. As you can see, the development of science is progressing at a speed which was unimaginable in past eras. Then what will the progress of science be like 13 years from now -- in 2020?
[ News, Science / Tech, December 24 2007] Korean technician to boost the nation's space industry

Ko San, Korea’s first astronaut, is now having a training session inside the Soyuz spacecraft stationed at the Gagarin Space Center in Moscow.

About 36,000 Koreans applied to become the country’s first person in space and only six people were short-listed after rigorous tests for physical fitness, reaction to a contingency, general fitness for space flight and interaction with foreign cosmonauts.


"The astronaut program is needed because it can provide vital know-how that can form the foundation of future development in this field," said Vice Science Minister Chung Yoon in an interview with a domestic news agency.

The vice minister said the space program will help the country create a system for selecting and training astronauts as well as enable Korea to improve cooperation with Japan and European countries in the space industry.
[ News, Science / Tech, December 24 2007] Korean astronaut to collect detailed photographic data on mega-lightning

Korea’s first astronaut will collect detailed photographic data on mega-lightning that occurs in the earth’s stratosphere, the government said Monday (Dec. 24).

The Ministry of Science and Technology and the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) said astronaut Ko San will use a locally developed micro-electro mechanical systems (MEMS) telescope to capture the unexplained atmospheric phenomenon for future research. He is scheduled to blast off into space on April 8 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and stay in orbit for eight days.
[ News, Science / Tech, December 21 2007] Samsung signs deal to share HDD-related patents with Hitachi's affiliate

Samsung Electronics Co., Korea’s electronics giant, said Friday (Dec. 21) that it has signed a deal to share patented technologies with Japan’s computer hardware manufacturer HGST in producing hard disk drives (HDD).

Under the deal, both companies will be able to share HDD-related patents registered before 2003 permanently and others until 2011, the company said in a statement. HGST is an affiliate of Hitachi, one of Japan’s largest electronics companies.

In a separate move, the two have agreed to drop all pending patent-infringement lawsuits lodged against each other, Samsung added.
[ News, Science / Tech, December 20 2007] Korea gears up efforts to become science leader

The government has worked out a plan to make Korea one of the world’s top five science and technology leaders by 2012.

In a science and technology committee meeting held at a Seoul hotel Thursday (Dec. 20), Minister of Science and Technology Kim Woo-sik and relevant officials discussed five-year plans to bring the country into the ranks of the world’s leaders in science and technology.

The committee mapped out a plan to expand R&D, biotechnology development and tech startup nurturing.

It also discussed ways to limit damage from natural disasters and assist provinces with their individual science and technology development plans.

Under the slogan World-best Science Nation, the government will continuously increase its R&D budget for related sectors and modify science and technology innovation strategies accordingly, the officials said.
[ News, Science / Tech, December 20 2007] KTF's 3G service users exceed 3 mli.

KTF Co., Korea’s No. 2 mobile carrier, said Thursday (Dec. 20) it has attracted more than 3 million subscribers to its third-generation (3G) mobile service, which offers video telephony and other enhanced multimedia functions.

The mark was reached just 10 months after the company started its nationwide 3G service called "Show" based on high-speed downlink packet access (HSDPA) in March this year, KTF said in a statement.

Of the customers, 22.6 percent and 21.9 percent were in their 20s and 30s, respectively, showing that younger generations are more receptive to the new mobile communications platform, the company said. Male users accounted for 53.1 percent, slightly outnumbering female ones.
[ News, Science / Tech, December 12 2007] Korea develops high-capacity superconducting power storage system

Korea has developed a world-class, high-capacity superconducting magnetic energy storage (SMES) system that can compensate for sudden blackouts, the government said Wednesday (Dec. 12).

The SMES unit developed by state-run Korea Electric Power Research Institute (KEPRI) can store up to and release 1.03 megawatts of electricity in one second, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy said.

It said the new power storage system could prevent key facilities like hospitals, banks, semiconductor lines and military installations from experiencing power failures that could have serious consequences.

"It also has the highest storage capacity of all SMES developed so far," Kim Hak-do, head of the ministry’s industrial power team said.
[ News, Science / Tech, December 11 2007] Korean scientists develop world's fastest nano transistor

A team of Korean scientists said Tuesday (Dec. 11) that they have developed a prototype of the world’s fastest nano-scale transistor, a core semiconductor device used in high-end applications such as satellites and telecommunication services.

The team led by Seo Kwang-seok, an engineering professor at Seoul National University, said it succeeded in creating a 15 nanometer high electron mobility transistor (HEMT) with a maximum frequency speed of 610 gigahertz.
[ News, Science / Tech, December 11 2007] Korea, UAE to hold talks on IT cooperation

Korea and the United Arab Emirates will hold their first talks Tuesday (Dec. 11) in Dubai to discuss ways of enhancing cooperation between the two countries in the information technology field, Seoul officials said.

The meeting is a follow-up on a promise by Korean President Roh Moo-hyun during his visit to the Middle Eastern country last May that he will work on boosting IT ties between the two countries, the Ministry of Information and Communication said.

During the talks to be held later in the day, both sides are expected to discuss measures aimed at boosting the exchange of cutting-edge technologies and helping each other build an e-government, ubiquitous cities and wireless Internet infrastructure, the ministry added.
[ News, Science / Tech, December 9 2007] KT to help set up Internet data center for Mongolia

KT, Korea’s leading fixed-line telephony and broadband Internet service provider, said Sunday (Dec. 9) it plans to help establish an Internet data center in Mongolia.

KT said it has won an order to build an Internet data center for the Mongolian government and to establish information and technology (IT) systems as well as networks. The project, which is scheduled to be complete in February, 2009, also calls for KT to provide IT education and dispatch experts to Mongolia.

"The project will help the two countries to improve technology co-operation and accelerate South Korean companies’ foray into the Central Asian country," a KT official said.
[ News, Science / Tech, December 9 2007] Korea's largest telecommunication service provider goes global

With the growth of the domestic market slowing, a number of local telecommunication giants are scrambling to expand earnings from beyond the increasingly saturated domestic market.

And KT, Korea’s largest telecommunication service provider, is leading the way.

KT CEO Nam Joong-soo says that the firm aims to build a "Silk Road" of the digital era with its broadband and mobile network technology.

Nam said his firm hopes to build a digital silk road that stretches from Korea, across Russia’s Far East to Europe, and all the way to Africa, connecting people through the Internet and mobile telecommunication technology.

KT has already established itself in some of the countries along the route.
[ News, Science / Tech, December 8 2007] Web links bind rural areas to Internet age, raise productivity

Goryeong-gun in Gyeongsangbuk-do (North Gyeongsang Province) is one of the five least-inhabited counties in Korea. But around 1,500 years ago, it was a seat of power for the Gaya Confederacy (45 - 532) of chiefdoms.

Though the county has only 35 thousand residents and five computer game rooms, well developed IT technology in its homes, businesses and schools keep Goryeong residents up to date with the other parts of the peninsula.

Goryeong county council members attend virtual meetings via laptops and Internet connections. Participants can follow and join in proceedings by listening to real-time radio broadcasts thanks to the so called “e-assembly system.”

The Goryeong-gun Office injected 94 million won to establish the online, paperless meeting system that allows users to read electronic documents on the Web and hear input via an IP broadcasting system that delivers the discussions countywide through real-time radio broadcasts.

The system increases efficiency by reducing the number of paper documents -- and hence printing costs -- and saving commuting time for members who live in outlying areas.

According to Goryeong-gun officials, the county expects to pocket up to 20 million a year just by doing away with printing paper and toner outlays.
[ News, Science / Tech, December 7 2007] Korea aims to become leading manufacturer of LED lights by 2015

Korea is aiming to become one of the top three manufacturers of light emitting diode (LED) lights by 2015, the government said on Friday (Dec. 7).

The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy said at a lighting industry workshop in Seoul that efforts are underway to enhance the country’s level of LED technology, which currently stands at roughly 80 percent of leading industrial economies.
[ News, Science / Tech, December 6 2007] Incheon begins transformation into U-city

The west coast port city Incheon, pop. 2.6 million, is developing a high-tech personnel and traffic control system to establish a ubiquitous city by 2009, Incheon officials said Wednesday (Dec. 5).

Injecting 650 million won, the Incheon Metropolitan Government will install sensors on streetlights and monitors in each household in a test district so people can keep track of young children and elderly relatives.

For the system to work, the youth and aged need to carry a radio frequency identification (RFID) tag.

The city is also installing a remote control device for streetlamps.

The planned services start in January 2009.

Korea's Information Society 한국의 정보 사회

Korea's Information Society 한국의 정보 사회: "Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Korea Game Science High School

In my regular morning review of technology news in Korea I just learned about the Korea Game Science High School. Founded in 2004, it is located in North Cholla Province. The very existence of this high school is a good indicator of how much the field of computer gaming has developed in South Korea. The goal of education at this high school is to 'Provide students with the creative atmosphere and education he or she needs professionally to compete in the growing, global industry of computer gaming.'"

Monday, February 18, 2008

[ News, Culture / Events, February 15 2008] Korean language service available at Louvre Museum

Korean visitors to the Louvre Museum in Paris will be able to enjoy the objects of art there with explanation in their mother tongue.

The Louvre said it would start offering a Korean-language information service on a trial basis on Feb. 12. The museum plans to expand the scope of the service if successful.

The guide is a portable device that displays video images of 600 main artworks displayed in the museum, along with audio explanation.
[ News, Culture / Events, February 14 2008] Learn traditional Korean music online!

Starting Feb. 14, you can learn about Korean traditional music online.

The National Center for Korean Traditional Performing Arts has opened a website ( to provide a chance for people to get to know traditional Korean music (called gugak) online free of charge.

On the website, visitors can learn about the history of gugak, how to play some of the popular traditional instruments such as gayageum, a 12-string traditional Korean zither and geomungo, a six-string zither. Also, visitors can listen to various gugak songs online.
[ News, Culture / Events, February 14 2008] [Photo News] Exhibition held in memory of video artist

A special exhibition opens at the Korean Cultural Center in New York on Wednesday (Feb. 13) to mark the second anniversary of the death of Korean video artist Paik Nam-june (1932-2006).
[ News, Culture / Events, February 14 2008] Singer Rain grabs leading role in Hollywood film

Rain, Korea’s foremost entertainer recently dubbed one of the world’s most beautiful people, has clinched a leading role in a Hollywood flick scheduled to begin shooting later this year, his U.S. promotion agency said Wednesday (Feb. 13).

"Ninja Assassin," to be directed by James McTeigue, will mark the first time for the 26-old singer and actor, whose real name is Jeong Ji-hoon, to play a leading role in a U.S. movie. He will make his official Hollywood debut in May with a smaller role in "Speed Racer."

"This is such a huge opportunity for me. It seems like a dream," he said at a press conference in Seoul.

Rain emerged as a worldwide star when South Korea’s pop culture, especially its pop music and television dramas, became hugely popular several years ago in Asia and other regions.
[ News, Culture / Events, February 4 2008] Paik Nam-june bridges worlds with legacy of art, originality

As about 100 people watched in silence, a Korean shaman started speaking in what many considered to be the voice of Paik Nam-june, the Korean-born American pioneer of video arts who died two years ago.


The scene last week at Hankuk Art Museum in Yongin, just outside Seoul, marked the second anniversary of the death of the world-renowned artist who, with his insight, transformed the realm of art into modern media.

Paik, who died on Jan. 29, 2006 of natural causes at age 74, stunned the world in 1963 when he exhibited a dozen television sets randomly scattered about as their screen images were deliberately distorted with magnets.

"The exhibition in Germany literally shocked everyone because no one ever imagined a video could be used as a means of art," said Oh Kwang-soo, former head of the National Museum of Contemporary Art.

"Paik broadened the horizon of art itself," he said, noting that the late artist was even referred to as "the George Washington of video art."
[ News, Culture / Events, February 1 2008] [Photo News] Korea's favorite action figure returns

Robot Taekwon V, one of Korea’s favorite action figures of the 70s is being displayed in New York. The exhibition "Toy Stories: souvenirs from Korean Childhood" displayed on the 8th floor of the Korea Society building at 950 Third Avenue, New York City will run from January 31 to April 18, 2008.

Other popular Korean toys of the 70s and 80s on display include miniature cars, trucks, paper dolls and ttakchi, a Korean cardboard game. Below is a display of heroic figures modelled from overseas including Atom (left) from Japan, Superman from the U.S. and Ultraman, again from Japan.

Meanwhile back in Seoul, a renewed Taekwon V figure was displayed at the Assem conference room in COEX Center few days during the occasion to explain the remake of the popular animation into a real live movie to be released next year.
[ News, Culture / Events, January 31 2008] Korean culture center opens in London

Building on rising international interest in Korean pop culture and the history of cultural relations between Korea and the United Kingdom, the 12th Korean cultural center in the world has opened in London.

Supervised by Korea’s Culture and Tourism Ministry, Britain’s first Korean Cultural Center launched in Trafalgar Square Wednesday (Jan. 30) with a reception featuring Tea Music, a multidisciplinary performance based on traditional Korean tea ceremonies.

Center director Choi Kyu-hak said, “We hope that the Korean Cultural Center will become a vital resource for those interested in engaging Korea’s diverse and vibrant cultural scene, by offering outstanding events at our major new venue in central London.”
[ News, Culture / Events, January 31 2008] Stringed instrument player wins top prize for UCC video

A teenage boy plays a pair of the traditional Korean instrument gayageum. By flawlessly playing the 12-stringed zither, he creates a Korean-flavored rhythm of Johann Pachelbel’s Canon in D major.

A video of Cheon Sae-bit (above) playing the canon is gaining huge popularity among Korean Web users. The clip won the top prize at the Korea UCC Contest 2007 held by the Culture and Tourism Ministry and the major Korean Web portals that include Naver, Daum and Cyworld.

The ministry and the Korea Broadcasting Institute selected Wednesday (Jan. 30) 13 of the top amateur UCC (user-created content) videos created by Korean Internet users.

Three of the 13 clips, including a Michael Jackson dance performance (below) accompanied by a popular Korean trot song, were chosen in the parody category. Though hardly professional, the video’s creator Lee Baek-gyeong created an unbalanced yet hilarious harmony of Jackson’s dance using the rhythm of the love song "Ddaengbeol."

Other winning videos included a young photographer who creates a large "taegeukgi (Korean national flag)" with 1,000 Polaroid photos on the wall, and a rap version of "humminjeongeum," a document containing 28 Korean letters originally created by King Sejong (1397-1450) during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910).

In the song, the singer highlights the significance of the Korean alphabet hangeul with witty lyrics. He also criticizes the excessive emphasis on English by Koreans over their native language.

The 13 videos were chosen from 110 entries recommended by major Web portals, including Naver, Daum, Cyworld,, Pandora TV, Freechal and M goon. Votes were tabulated online and by phone, as well as through polling of experts.
[ News, Culture / Events, January 29 2008] Incheon to host World City Expo in 2009

Korea’s third-largest city and second-largest port of Incheon will host the World City Expo in August.

The Incheon City Hall formed in February 2007 a committee to organize the World City Expo. The non-profit organization received support from the central government. Committee executives and employees were appointed from the Incheon government and subsidiary organizations.

Experts say the majority of the world’s population will keep moving to cities, so urban flight will rise as a key global issue. Under this circumstance, cooperation and exchanges among international cities are growing in importance.
[ News, Culture / Events, January 28 2008] Korean films in theaters to get English subtitles

A domestic film production company and distributor will show the latest Korean movies with English subtitles in theaters to attract more foreign audiences.

CJ Entertainment and CGV announced Monday (Jan. 28) that they will start with "A Man Who Was Superman (2008)."

"Initially, the selected movies will show on one screen at Yongsan CGV (theater in Seoul) for the duration of the films’ domestic theatrical run," CJ said in a statement.

Korean movies playing in theaters have no English subtitles and thus mostly cater to Koreans, despite the rising number of foreigners living in the country.

"A Man Who Was Superman" will be screened with English subtitles starting Thursday (Jan. 31), the same day the movie is released to Korean viewers.
[ News, Culture / Events, January 20 2008] Korean idol pop group's new album gains massive fan base even before its release: chart

Korean pop band Dong Bang Shin Ki carved out a massive female fan base in Japan with their upcoming new album "T", which has received top name recognition among teen girls, a leading Japanese music chart revealed Sunday (Jan. 20).

The five-member male K-pop group, called Tohoshinki in Japan, is the only group whose pre-release album was recognized by more than 90 percent of teenage girls, according to Japan’s best-known Oricon Charts. Ninety-six percent of teen girls said they knew about T, set to be released on Wednesday. Its name recognition overall was 67 percent.
[ News, Culture / Events, December 24 2007] Korea's leading actress recognized at Cannes Film Festival

Jeon Do-yeon is one of the most versatile and well-known actresses in the Korean movie industry, having performed a wide range of roles for the last 10 years, but unfortunately, she has not had a chance to show off her talent on the international stage at least until May this year.

In May, she was finally invited to the Cannes Film Festival for her role in "Secret Sunshine," and she said she was just excited about having a chance to meet world-famous stars. But she did more than meet matinee idols at the festival.
[ News, Culture / Events, December 24 2007] Struggle of comedian-turned-director finally pays off

It wasn’t an easy decision for Shim Hyung-rae to give up his fame and reputation as a top comedian after being chosen as the most lucrative entertainer in the 1990s, but he couldn’t stop himself from taking an audacious chance to become a movie director.

He said he was so fascinated by the potential of sci-fi films, which can appeal to everyone regardless of their nationality, age, ideology and gender.

But after repeated failures, some called his movie business quest stubborn foolishness although some praised his persistence.

In particular, the failure of his movie “Yonggary,” the nation’s first big-budget science-fiction film that was released in 1999, hit him hard.

But six years have passed since “Yonggary,” and Shim finally achieved his ultimate goal -- a wide release in the United States and full-fledged computer-generated graphics with his monster-fest movie "D-War,"
[ News, Culture / Events, December 23 2007] Korean cartoons grow up and into lucrative animation industry

An old, driverless car approaches a young man, suddenly stands up, and transforms itself into a tall, talking robot armed with never-before-seen technology.

This is a scene from “Transformers,” the recent Hollywood blockbuster directed by Michael Bay. The show features robots that can change themselves into any kind of vehicle to fight against evil robots out to takeover earth.

The movie and the original 1980s cartoon on which it is based captivated many robot enthusiasts, young and old.

The creative power behind the Transformers is Korean animator Nelson Shin, 67, the producer of the original Transformers cartoon and director of the 1986 Transformers movie. Dubbed “god of animators” in South Korea,” Shin and the staff at his studio AKOM in Korea have also been drawing famous U.S. cartoon characters from “The Simpsons,” “Dilbert” and “Pink Panther.”

Meanwhile, at Internet cafes across Korea a legion of 200,000 users -- ages 20 to 60 – are logged on and playing Lineage. The online multi-role game, allows players to be princes, knights, magicians or other characters fighting for their kings in a fantasy world created by cartoonist Shin Il-suk. Shin, 45, is one of well-known Korean animators. "Manhwa" or Korean comic book readers, were amazed by the world of fantasy, epic and romance Shin created in her other artworks that include "Four Daughters of Armian" (unofficial translation) and "Pharaoh’s Lover" (unofficial translation).
[ News, Culture / Events, December 17 2007] In Paris and Busan, Hanbok catches French designer's eye

There is a young French designer who says he is inspired by the richness and diversity of cultures worldwide. He is Christophe Guillarme, the talented 28 year old has been designing for his own label for the past 10 years and has put out 18 collections so far.

He is well-known for mixing the styles of various cultures to create dramatic deigns. For his 2008 spring and summer collection shown last month at the Busan Pret-a-Porter in Korea, he said he mixed both Italian and Parisian styles for his dramatic collection filled with ultra-glamorous and seductive gowns.
[ News, Culture / Events, December 10 2007] Herald Media publishes book of essays by foreign experts on Korea

Herald Media Inc., publisher of the Korea Herald, said Monday (Dec. 10) it recently published a book of English essays by Korea experts at home and abroad, seeking to help global readers better grasp Korea’s rapid political, social, economic and cultural changes.

The book is a collection of 31 essays written by renowned foreign scholars with expertise on Korean affairs for contribution to the Korea Herald, a leading English newspaper in Korea, under its "Insight into Korea" series, starting in June this year.

Authors of the essays include Bruce Cumings, a history professor at the University of Chicago; David I. Steinberg and Michael Green, international politics professors at Georgetown University; and Berry Eichengreen, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley.
[ News, Culture / Events, December 5 2007] Smithsonian to provide Korea Gallery brochure: Korea PR expert

An English brochure introducing the Korea Gallery, part of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in the U.S capital Washington, is about to be released, a Korea promotion expert said Tuesday (Dec. 4).

According to Seo Kyoung-duk, 33, he and the museum signed a written contract to publicize a booklet explaining in detail the museum’s Korean gallery next June, the one-year anniversary of the gallery’s opening.
[ News, Culture / Events, November 29 2007] Houston museum to open Arts of Korea gallery

The 11th U.S. gallery specifically dedicated to Korean artifacts will open in the oldest museum in Texas this December.

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) will become the first museum in the American Southwest to dedicate a gallery to Korea. According to the museum, Arts of Korea will be its first permanent gallery for Korean art.
[ News, Culture / Events, November 29 2007] [Photo News] Traditional Korean music performed in Bosnia

Dasrum, a Korean traditional music group, plays "Arirang," a traditional Korean song, at Sarajevo National Theater in Bosnia on Nov. 28. It was the first exclusive concert of Korean traditional music in the country.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

[ News, Finance, January 17 2008] Seoul shares end higher on tech, financial gains

Korean stocks ended higher Thursday (Jan. 17) in a choppy session as financial and tech shares got a big boost from heavy institutional and retail buying, analysts said. The local currency dipped against the U.S. dollar.
[ News, Finance, January 3 2008] Electronic financial transactions rise in Q3

Electronic financial transactions jumped about 17 percent in the third quarter from three months earlier, mainly because online securities trading surged amid a boom in stock markets, the financial watchdog said Thursday (Jan. 3).

In the July-September period, the volume of online securities transactions increased 17.1 percent from the preceding quarter to 1,572 trillion won ($1.69 trillion), the Financial Supervisory Service said.
[ News, Economy / Industry, February 17 2008] SK Telecom to tap China's telematics market

Korea’s top mobile phone carrier SK Telecom Co. said Sunday (Feb. 17) it has bought a Chinese Global Positioning System (GPS) service provider in order to tap the Chinese telematics market.

SK Telecom said it bought a controlling 65.5-percent stake in Shenzhen E-eye High Tech Co. for 13.9 billion won ($14.7 million), putting it under its holding company in China, SK Telecom China Holding Co.

"The purchase has opened the way for SK telecom to advance into the Chinese market with its telematics technology and know-how," said Lee Suk-hwan, president of SK Telecom China Holding.

Telematics refers to the use of GPS technology integrated with computers and mobile communications technology in automotive navigation systems.
[ News, Economy / Industry, February 15 2008] Merck to set up research center in Korea

Merck KGaA, the German maker of liquid crystals used in flat-panel televisions, said Friday (Feb. 15) it will open a research and development center in Korea as the company strives to meet the nation’s increasing demand for crystals.

Merck will spend 14 billion won ($14.8 million) to open the center in Poseung, 70 kilometers south of Seoul, where its plant is located, the company’s Korean unit said in a statement.

The investment "was the right decision to meet the growing demands of the expanding Korean LCD industry," said Andreas Kruse, head of Merck’s Korean unit, in the statement.

Korea is home to the world’s top two manufacturers of liquid crystal display panels, Samsung Electronics Co. and LG.Philips LCD Co.
[ News, Economy / Industry, February 12 2008] LG.Philips LCD plans to change name

LG.Philips LCD Co., a leading global flat panel maker, said Tuesday (Feb. 12) it plans to change its name to reflect its newly envisioned business model.

The company said it expects to receive approval at its shareholders’ meeting on Feb. 29 to change its name to LG Display Co., to reflect its goal to diversify its business model from the current liquid crystal display-oriented one to one that includes the production of flexible displays and OLED screens.

The expected name change will also reflect its new ownership structure, the company said.
[ News, Economy / Industry, February 12 2008] IBM to set up R&D center in Korea: Lee's aide

IBM Chairman & CEO Samuel Palmisano said Tuesday (Feb. 12) that the U.S.-based multinational company will consider setting up a research and development center in Korea’s science business belt to be built by the incoming government.

Palmisano made the remark during his meeting with President-elect Lee Myung-bak at the latter’s office in Seoul, according to Lee’s spokesperson, Joo Ho-young.

"Lee and Palmisano discussed ways to have IBM open a new R&D center in the South Korean science business belt. Lee proposed IBM take advantage of South Korea’s competitive fields and Palmisano reacted favorably," Joo said.
[ News, Economy / Industry, February 5 2008] NHN's Q4 net jumps on search boost

NHN Corp., Korea’s largest Internet portal, said Tuesday (Feb. 5) its quarterly net profit jumped 78.4 percent, spurred by a rise in search revenue and online ads.

Analysts say NHN is likely to sustain its momentum throughout 2008, as Internet-savvy Koreans spend more time on its Web site to search or play online games, allowing the company to draw more advertisers.

NHN reported a net profit of 85.7 billion won ($90.9 million) for the fourth quarter last year, a sharp rise from 48 billion won a year earlier.
[ News, Economy / Industry, February 4 2008] Sales jump at Korean online shopping malls

Sales of Korea’s online shopping malls grew 16.3 percent in December from a year earlier, buoyed by a rise in the sales of winter clothing and travel-related services, a government report said Monday (Feb. 4).

The combined sales of the shopping malls were tallied at 1.50 trillion won ($1.59 billion), up from 1.29 trillion won a year earlier, the National Statistical Office (NSO) said in the report.

This is the highest monthly figure since the country started compiling on-line sales statistics in January 2001.
[ News, Economy / Industry, January 25 2008] Korea makes 121 global bestsellers

Korean companies made 121 global best-selling products last year, the government said Friday (Jan. 25).

The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy said locally made goods enjoyed predominant market shares in such areas as memory chips, thin film transistor liquid crystal displays (TFT-LCD), and liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers.

The global market share of Korean-made semiconductors reached 45 percent, with local production totaling $15.5 billion.

Local companies also controlled 47 percent and 63 percent of TFT-LCD and LNG ship markets, respectively.
[ News, Economy / Industry, January 24 2008] Samsung becomes world's No. 2 handset maker

Samsung Electronics, Korea’s leading electronics giant, outperformed its closest rival Motorola Inc. in 2007 to become the world’s No. 2 maker of mobile handsets in terms of sales, according to data released by the two companies Thursday (Jan. 24).

Samsung Electronics reported that it sold 18.37 trillion won ($22.1 billion) worth of mobile handsets last year, up 22 percent from a year earlier. U.S.-based Motorola logged $19 billion in sales of handsets.
[ News, Economy / Industry, January 21 2008] Small tech firm Onse Telecom to launch mobile communications business

Onse Telecom Corp., a Korean fixed-line communications operator, said Monday (Jan. 21) that it is preparing to enter the local mobile telecommunications market, a move that could provide cheaper services by sparking market competition.

Onse Telecom said that it has set up a mobile business task force that will soon unveil detailed plans of its envisioned business in which it will provide service as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO).

MVNO refers to a business operator whose mobile service is based on a borrowed network. Currently, the South Korean mobile communications market is dominated by three carriers -- SK Telecom Co., KTF Co. and LG Telecom Ltd. Onse is the first company to officially express an intention to enter the MVNO market.

The government recently crafted a bill that would allow smaller companies to enter the mobile service market as an MVNO to prompt market competition and a decline in communications costs for customers. The bill is expected to be submitted to parliament in February.
[ News, Economy / Industry, January 17 2008] Korea's Internet call market to grow sharply on household adoption: report

The Korean market for internet-based telephony is expected to grow over 50 percent annually over the next five years as an increasing number of households and businesses replace their traditional service with the new and cheaper way of making calls, a report showed Thursday (Jan. 17).

According to the report by industry consulting firm, IDC Korea, the local market for Internet calls, or Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), will likely expand by an annual average of 53 percent between 2007 and 2011 to 1.42 trillion won ($1.5 billion).

The report put the local VoIP market last year at an estimated 255.2 billion won, up 52.2 percent from a year earlier.

"Until now, the VoIP market here has grown as businesses moved fast to adopt the new telephony service. As more households are expected to follow suit, its size will likely grow at a faster pace down the road," an IDC Korea official said.
[ News, Economy / Industry, January 16 2008] Samsung Techwin's 2007 earnings surge on strong camera sales

Samsung Techwins Co., Korea’s largest digital camera maker, said Wednesday (Jan. 16) that its 2007 earnings jumped 28.7 percent on strong camera sales.

Net income rose to 203.26 billion won ($216.5 million) last year from the 157.89 billion won recorded a year earlier, the company said in a regulatory filing. Sales increased 13.1 percent to 3.24 trillion won and operating profit surged 48.4 percent to 170.16 billion won.
[ News, Economy / Industry, January 15 2008] Korea sees improved digital-electronics competitiveness

The competitiveness of Korea’s digital electronics industry made solid gains in 2007, fueled by improved quality, the government said Tuesday (Jan. 15).

A survey of 32 products including digital TV sets, mobile phones, display panels, next-generation fuel cells and robots, showed the country’s technical competitiveness moving up an average 3 to 5 percentage points compared to the year before, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy said.

It said noticeable strides were made last year with locally produced liquid crystal display (LCD) and plasma display panel (PDP) TV sets being rated as technologically equal to Japanese products.

In 2006, Korean-made LCD and PDP TVs were considered less high-tech that those from Japan.
[ News, Economy / Industry, January 14 2008] LG.Philips swings to black in Q4 earnings

LG.Philips LCD Co., a global liquid crystal display making giant, reported Monday (Jan. 14) it entered the black in the fourth quarter of last year thanks to stable flat-panel prices and successful cost-cutting efforts.

Net profit amounted to 760 billion won (US$810.6 million) during the three months ended on Dec. 31, compared with a loss of 174 billion won recorded a year earlier, the South Korea-based company said in a regulatory filing.
[ News, Economy / Industry, January 8 2008] Samsung aims to post 30 tril. won in digital media business sales this year

Samsung Electronics Co., Korea’s top electronics manufacturer, aims to log 30 trillion won ($31.9 billion) in sales from its digital media (DM) division this year by focusing on growth in its flat-panel TV business, a senior executive said.

The 2008 target is up 15 percent from the 26 trillion won that Samsung Electronics is estimated to have recorded last year, Park Jong-woo, head of Samsung’s DM division, told reporters during a press conference held on the sidelines of a tech show in Las Vegas.

Samsung’s DM division mainly deals with digital electronics products including flat-panel TVs, printers and personal computers.

"To this end, we will put out diverse mid-sized OLED TVs, ultra-slim TVs and other next-generation products to secure our leadership in the global television market for three consecutive years," Park said.
[ News, Economy / Industry, January 8 2008] Sales of Korean online shopping malls up sharply in November

Sales of Korea’s online shopping malls grew 16.3 percent in November from a year earlier, thanks to an increase in sales of clothing and fashion items, a government report said Tuesday (Jan. 8).

The combined sales of the shopping malls were tallied at a record 1.44 trillion won ($1.53 billion), up from 1.24 trillion won a year earlier, the National Statistical Office (NSO) said in the report.
[ News, Economy / Industry, January 8 2008] Korea's manufacturing productivity up sharply in Q3

Korea’s labor productivity in manufacturing moved up sharply in the third quarter of 2007, fueled by solid growth in information technology (IT) businesses and heavy industry, a government report said Tuesday (Jan. 8).

Korea’s manufacturing productivity soared 14.8 percent in the July-September period, compared with an 8.7 percent increase in the second quarter, according to the report by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy.

According to the findings, the labor productivity of the IT sector grew 25.3 percent, while that of the non-IT areas expanded 7.3 percent.
[ News, Economy / Industry, January 8 2008] LGE eyes 30% jump in N. American sales

LG Electronics Inc., Korea’s leading consumer electronics manufacturer, aims to post growth of 30 percent in its North American sales this year, a regional executive said Monday (Jan. 7).

"We achieved $10 billion won in sales for the first time here (North America) last year thanks to brisk performances of mobile phones, flat-panel TVs and other premium home appliance goods," Ahn Myeong-kyu, head of LG Electronics’ North American business, told reporters. "We aim to increase it to $13 billion this year by stepping up marketing efforts."

LGE’s 2008 objectives were unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show, one of the world’s largest tech shows, currently underway in Las Vegas.
[ News, Economy / Industry, January 7 2008] LG Electronics aims to become No. 3 flat-panel TV maker this year

LG Electronics Inc., Korea’s largest home appliance company, aims to become the world’s third-largest maker of flat-panel TVs this year by selling 17 million TVs with LCD and PDP screens, a top executive said Monday (Jan. 7).

In a related move, LG Electronics is to invest $500 million for research and development concerning its display business this year, said Simon Kang, vice president of the company’s digital display section.

The Korean electronics giant targets sales of 14 million LCD TVs and 3 million PDP TVs, he added.
[ News, Economy / Industry, January 3 2008] Korea's IT exports grow over 10% in 2007

Korean exports of information technology (IT) goods grew more than 10 percent in 2007, boosted by increased sales of handsets and flat panels in global markets, a government report showed Thursday (Jan. 3).

According to the report by the Ministry of Information and Communication, Korean companies sold a combined $125.1 billion worth of IT goods last year, up 10.5 percent from a year earlier.

During the same period, Korea imported $64.8 billion worth of IT products, up 9.9 percent from a year earlier. This brought the nation’s IT trade surplus last year to a record $60.4 billion.
[ News, Economy / Industry, January 3 2008] Korea's digital-electronics trade surplus hits new high in 2007

Korea’s trade surplus in the digital electronics sector reached a record $57.1 billion in 2007, fueled by strong global demand for display panels and semiconductors, a government report said Thursday (Jan. 3).

The report by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy showed exports rose 8.9 percent year-on-year to $124.9 billion, while imports gained 10.1 percent to $67.8 billion.

"Last year not only marked a record high in terms of the trade surplus, but it was the third straight year since 2005 that exports surpassed the $100 billion mark," said Kim Sung-jin, head of the ministry’s digital industry team.

He said exports of liquid crystal display (LCD) panels and computer memory chips shot up 36.4 percent and 30.9 percent, respectively, last year compared to 2006.
[ News, Economy / Industry, December 30 2008] City of Seoul to expand convention facilities: mayor

The mayor of Seoul said Sunday (Dec. 30) he plans to greatly enhance the capital city’s capacity to hold international conventions by setting up a "convention belt" in the southeastern part of the city.

"The city of Seoul will establish a convention belt connecting the Jamsil district, the Convention and Exhibition Center (COEX) and the Seoul Trade Exhibition Center (SETEC)," Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon said in an interview with a domestic news agency.

"The existing facilities are already overwhelmed by the exhibits. Eighty-five percent of the COEX is always booked, which seems quite excessive from a global standard," he said. "We need to meet increasing demands for large-scale conventions in Seoul, which is mainly resulting from the economic development of China."