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Interview / Kim Ssang-soo, Vice Chairman of LG Electronics Following a recent business trip to China, Kim Ssang-soo, vice chairman of LG Electronics, disclosed his thoughts in his homepage as regards to LG's market strategy in China. "During my recent business trip to China," Kim wrote, "I was able to confirm that our premium strategy we have been seeking for the past two years or so is being placed on a firm footing." "Under such circumstances," he added, "a springboard for LG to make new advances in the Chinese market seems to have been prepared." Pointing out that times have slipped by so quickly since LG had set its feet on the Chinese market nearly 13 years ago, Kim said that there were times when LG had to pay the price of producing results lacking in substance due to the company's one-sided policies focused on growth. As a result, Kim added that this made him have second thoughts as to whether LG had overdone in its ventures in the Chinese market as if China had been Korea's backyard. "On the other hand," Kim continued, "if there had not been such a process, we could not have learned the 'market' and there must have been difficulties in raising our brand name." "In the case of microwave ovens," he explained, "LG sold over 2.5 million microwave ovens in 2003 alone, contributing much to publicizing LG's brand name. However, the general products including microwave ovens are not what we aim for. As the corporate system and organization lineup are in a stable state for the sales of premium products, we have to lead the premium market and maximize our performance." Technology Expert Council (TEC) On a global level, at the heart of LG Electronics' aim to become a top player in the field of R&D in the electronics and telecom markets by 2010, lies the recent launching of the Technology Expert Council (TEC). On July 6, LG Electronics held the "2006 TEC Convention" presided over by Kim Ssang-soo, vice chairman of the company, with the participation of key figures in the management and all the 120 executives in the R&D business. At the convention, LG organized nine subcommittees based on the company's technology classification system that includes key technology fields such as signal processing and software in addition to core technologies selected by the company's project headquarters. At the meeting, LG also selected a total of 54 experts whose knowledge in their respective fields is the company's best in 53 technology fields. The company said TEC will be in charge of the development of state-of-the-art technologies at their extremes and play the advisory role on technology-related issues for major projects. In addition, the council will be formulating technology-related policies for the future, and make proposals for new projects while assuming the role of counseling for the company's top management and disseminating technology-based knowledge. Through this event, LG Electronics confirmed its determination to attain the vision in the R&D sector with TEC playing the central role. In addition, LG Electronics has decided to set the course of its R&D activities and resolve corresponding issues in a close tie-up between the recently launched TEC with the company's cooperative bodies such as the display and mobile phone forums operated by the company's headquarters. "As the best group of technicians at LG as a whole," Kim Ssang-soo, vice chairman of LG Electronics, said, "TEC, a core group of brains on R&D for achieving the 'Global Top R&D' in the year 2010, will be the vanguard of R&D innovations for not only maximizing today's corporate performance but also discovering the future engine of growth setting the company's path in the next 10 years." "Based on the pride and sense of duty of a top expert," Kim added, "I call for all the TEC members to step forward in making technological advancement and actively take part in resolving not only technological matters but also corporate issues as a whole and make the most of a technician's expertise for raising the R&D operations to the global top." In line with such an aim, LG Electronics plans to expand the number of top technology experts to account for about 2% of its total R&D workforce by 2010. At the same time, the company has set a timetable to provide opportunities to foster talents in educational institutions in advanced countries and academic societies while offering exceptional rewards for achievements. In the early part of last year, meanwhile, LG Electronics announced its vision for the "Global Top R&D in 2010" in which the company has underscored its will to focus on creating "No. 1" products that are "best selling" at "most expensive prices" and are "the first on the market." LG Wins "Design Team of the Year" Award In further developments, LG Electronics has demonstrated its global strength in design as the company became the first Korean firm bestowed with the Red Dot Design's "Design Team of the Year" award, one of the world's most coveted awards for achievement in innovative design. In an award ceremony held on June 26 at the Aalto Theatre in Essen, Germany, the prestigious German design institute Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen selected LG Corporate Design Center as the "Design Team of the Year". At the ceremony, where more than 1,000 guests from design and other industries have gathered, the symbolic challence cup "Radius" was presented by Stefan Dietrich, director of footwear design at the Adidas Design Team, to Shim Jae-jin, president of the LG Corporate Design Center. The "Radius" trophy, inscribed with the names of previous winners from 1989, was presented to the award's new winner by the recipient of the award from the previous year. Dr. Peter Zec, initiator of the red dot design award and head of ICSID (International Council of Societies of Industrial Design) praised highly of LG's feat and said that LG, having placed the concept of design of its own on a firm footing, sets the trends in design, as in the case of wall mounted projector. He applauded that LG is creating a new culture through innovative technology and design in addition to what consumers need in today's digital age. The 'Design Team of the Year' award is one of the world's most coveted awards in design bestowed to a company that has made conspicuous achievement through innovative design. By winning the award, LG now joins the group of such notables as Apple, Adidas, Mercedes-Benz, Nokia, Audi, and Sony that have won the award since it was instituted in 1989, and became the second Asian company to have won the Red Dot's 'Radius' trophy. In the meantime, LG broke industry records by winning the most Red Dot Design awards. Including two 'Best of the Best' design awards. Aside from the "Design Team of the Year' award, LG won Red Dot Design awards in 20 categories with the company's dual-core wide screen notebook T1 series and the world's first wall-mounted projector winning the 'Best of the Best' awards. In addition to these, other products that drove the company to win the awards were, among others, 50-inch plasma TV, 42-inch LCD TV, the Chocolate phone, notebook PCs 'S1' and 'TX', LCD monitors 'LX60' and 'LX70', the home theater 'XH-760TA', MP3 players, DVD recorders, digital home PC 'AV Center', microwave oven 'LB-672098S', washing machines and the robot vacuum cleaner 'V-R4000'. At this year's competition, more than 5,000 products from over 40 countries made their entries. These include auto products, lighting and office supplies, as well as stationeries in addition to electronic products. In the meantime, LG's awardwinning products will be exhibited at the Red Dot's Design Museum until next year's award ceremony.