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Korean firms intensify LED attack

12 May 2009

Seoul Semiconductor, Samsung LED and LG Display position themselves to take advantage of solid-state illumination.

Three major Korean companies are each making key investments in their LED manufacturing operations, as the country seeks to become one of the world's top three LED producers. Seoul Semiconductor managing director Saewook Chun says that his company is planning a plant expansion in anticipation of the Korean LED market expanding by 50% on average through to 2011.

Meanwhile, Chinese state news agency Xinhua has said that electronics giant Samsung plans another $60m (€43.8m) investment in its Tianjin LED production facility. A source at the company said that the Tianjin site was transferred from Samsung Electro-Mechanics to Samsung LED, which was officially founded on 1 April.

Xinhua quotes Zhang Liang of the Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area Administration Commission as saying that Samsung's investment would reach $90m. He estimated the starting capital value of the site to be $30m.

In April, LG Display took a 29.8% stake in Woori LED Co Ltd, for KRW 11.9bn (€7m), according to Thomson Financial.

This comes after the leading TFT-LCD manufacturer formed an alliance with US LED maker Cree in January to develop manufacturing facilities for display backlighting.

The Korean government announced it would make a KRW 3 trillion investment to push its domestic LED facilities further into the global elite a year ago.

Seoul Semiconductor's Saewook Chun says that the Korean Agency for Technology and Standards (KATS) is now also working to establish the sector as a "green growth industry".

After the government initiated "Green Growth Seoul" in February, in which public institutions exploit solid-state lighting, KATS will also implement a "Green Standard Policy", he said.

"Facilitated by government policies, future demands will consistently grow," the executive told compoundsemiconductor.net. "LEDs will be comprehensively installed in the buildings of public companies and their use will extend to traffic lights, streetlights, guard lamps and tunnel lights."

He says that the Samsung Economic Research Institute has predicted that a boom in the field could create up to 880,000 jobs.

• This article first appeared on our sister website compoundsemiconductor.net

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