Posted December. 14, 2005 06:15,
Hyundai-Kia Motors, LS Group, and LG Chemical are pursuing the formation of a strategic partnership to catch up to hybrid cars made by Japanese auto makers. LS Group will develop cutting-edge electric devices including power trains and lines. LG Chemical will develop lithium polymer batteries and supply them to Hyundai Motors. The combination of Hyundai Motors automobile technology, LS Groups electric technology, and LG Chemicals battery technology is expected to have huge synergistic effects. Even for a world-leading company, joint research and technology cooperation with other businesses are vital to its survival in global competition.
Toyota, the top Japanese carmaker, is leading the market of hybrid cars which have drawn great attention as environment-friendly automobiles of the future. The Toyota Prius is expected to record sales of 180,000 units this year, following 125,000 sold last year. Japan is dominant in related technologies patented in the last five years as it possesses 1,638 of them, while the U.S. has 198 and Korea has 131. The demand for hybrid cars will grow as the combination of an electric motor with a gasoline engine will allow drivers to save gasoline. LS and LGs development of parts will boost Hyundai Motors when it begins to produce hybrid models late next year as it competes with Toyota.
In the semiconductor sector, Japanese companies are fast catching up with the worlds top firm Samsung Electronics by creating joint venture firms. Five Japanese companies including Hitachi and Toshiba have agreed to invest two trillion won in producing world-class system Large Scale Integrations (LSI). The Japanese semiconductor industry aims to defeat Samsung. Samsung Electronics is responding to this by establishing strategic partnerships with Siemens of Germany and Sony of Japan.
Governments are actively supporting joint research and cooperation between companies and scientists in order to enhance their industrial competitiveness. Under the circumstances, it is lamentable to see self-damaging behaviors found in Korea including those that do harm to the few growth engines of the country such as stem cells and semiconductors.
If Korea wants to maintain its competitiveness in the flagship industries such as electronics, automobiles, and shipbuilding, and constantly create new growth engines at the same time, it is important to create an environment to help the science community work in partnership as Hyundai, LS, and LG do in the business community. A strong business community will empower the country and the public.