The extreme concentration of technology experts at KINTEX has been baffling to even the most organized media teams. With every single one of Korea's strong IT industries represented in full at one time, it can be difficult to find one single figure to focus on for any length of time. However, this editor plunged into the depths of the event, searching for the men and women who could give it meaning, and explain the important parts of the whole. Three main voices were encountered during the expedition, and three parts of the whole were highlighted. And despite the vast differences in the viewpoints of these three examples, the theme was the same.
Chaebol Leading the Way
Chang Won-kie, president of the LCD Division of Samsung Electronics, Korea, was one of those voices. He spoke for the keynote address at IMID 2009, on the third floor of the completely packed venue. He talked about how the LCD business has grown up in the past 15 years. He spoke about the volume of business expanding over 10 times, and the revenue growth expanded exponentially. He emphasized how important the display industry was in the world, and how heavily it had impacted Korea and the globe, and how important Samsung was to the success of Korea itself.
He also spoke about the new advances in the display industry, the new devices that will impact the industry in the future. He spoke about digital signage, and how that will be more important in the future. Now, LCDs are not useful for signage in the daytime, but that new advances will be essential for showing bright, daylight-proof, eye-catching signs. He also spoke about interior displays, things similar to a TV but not actually a TV. Customers will be able to use these interior displays to decorate their walls; to display art, or calm movie scenes, or anything at all. TVs, of course, were mentioned, but Mr. Chang said that interactive TVs were the wave of the future. He emphasized that 80-inch, ultra-high definition (UHD) TVs which would completely fill your eyes would be viable within three years. He identified that there were some specific technical details that the LCD industry needed to get to the 80 inch TVs, which included special semiconductor devices with better performance than was possible at the current time. However, he had supreme confidence that the technical hurdles would be overcome soon. Not to be stopped at 3, he continued to say that personal digital boards would be important in the future, something mobile that people carry with them. The fifth new thing to wach out for is the e-paper displays. Those are coming out even now, such as the Kindle by Amazon. However, Samsung finished their own e-book type devices a few months ago and by this time next year Mr. Chang expects the market to be much more mature.
Lastly, he mentioned a strategy for Samsung to follow in the future with this growing market. He said that value creation and risk management were the two most important things to focus on as the market changes. He said that the display market was a little oversupplied now, so that the company should watch out for that. After painting such a rosy picture of the future of the display industry, he definitely set the stage for a positive conference. According to an attendee, "Samsung's presentation material and presentation itself was super."
Display Industry Perspective
Dr. Kim Hyun-jae, a professor at Yonsei University in the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering and the IMID 2009 General Secretariat, also shared his views with this reporter. He was quite impressed with the whole event, especially the presentation by Chang Won-kie. He was able to point out some of the other more interesting parts of this own IMID conference. "AMOLED is very hot nowadays. I've seen some sessions filled up and they needed more chairs. That session is pretty hot I think," he said.
He also spoke about the other events going on at the same time, KES and iSEDEX. "Its huge, there are so many things to see. You may have to take up hours to just see everything." He offered the display-centric perspective on the whole conglomeration of events by saying, "Most of KES is oriented towards the final product - appliances and stuff, rather than the components such as LCD panels and materials. So some people say its better to have separate exhibitions next year."
He was also the man to talk to about the statistics of his event. "IMID this year has 470 papers, with 120 companies and 320 display booths for our part of this event." He noted that there was one day less in the schedule this year compared to previous years, but that there were also post-sessions during the day's schedule. So more information had been squeezed into less time. Finally, he said that with the maturity of the e-reader market, he anticipates that next year the conference can have a promotional deal with one of the e-book manufacturers. He says that, since IMID is an information display conference, they should be one of the first places to adapt new, cutting-edge technologies. He hopes to be able to distribute all of the program's information on an e-book type device next year, and mentioned that he would approach Samsung for the honors. It definitely gives IMID conference-goers something to look forward to in the future.
The Other Asia's Point of View
After the corporate point of view, and the academic point of view, this editor was able to discover the foreign government's point of view. NK Goyal, a visiting dignitary from India, was holding down a booth to promote his Communications and Manufacturing Association of India, or CMAI, on the immensely-crowded show floor of KES 2009. To the right of iSEDEX, and behind the IMID booths, and two aisles down from the China booths, one could find the rows of KES 2009 participants, and CMAI's booth.
CMAI, according to Mr. Goyal, is involved in policy formulations with the Indian government and other stakeholders in technology, innovations, indigenous manufacturing and communications sector. CMAI has been actively involved in telecom policies for the 3G spectrum, licensing, and other similar areas.
NK Goyal said that he was specifically visiting Korea because he was interested in the advanced IT infrastructure of the country. "Here, you have 3G, you have broadband, you have everything, and it is very dense," he explained. He went on to say that India is lagging behind in this kind of infrastructure, and that his organization was most interested in fixing the technological gap. He was here for market research, market development, and international trade and hoped that he could establish a lasting relationship with the relevant Korean people on this side of the continent.
He said that he chose to come this time specifically because of the recent Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) agreement between the two countries. During the interview he let it slip that he was involved in the negotiations and policy formation of the technological aspects of the CEPA, and that he was uniquely poised to understand and take advantage of the new understanding between the two countries.
Mr. Goyal is not only involved with CMAI, but is also involved in an extreme number of other telecoms and electronics associations in India. He was a part of a 17 member Indian delegation made up of interested CEOs and officials all hoping to create stronger ties with the Korean economy. Incidentally, India's industrial output rose at its fastest pace in 22 months in August, The Wall Street Journal reported Oct. 13. The Central Statistical Organization revised the July output number from a provisional 6.8 percent expansion reported earlier but didn't give any reason for revising the data. The index for industrial production grew 10.4 percent from a year earlier in August, after a revised 7.2 percent jump in the government agency's July data. Manufacturing activity expanded 10.2 percent from a year earlier in August. Also, India signed pacts with the World Bank for loans worth $4.2 billion, Dow Jones reported Oct. 13. The loans include $1.2 billion to state-run India Infrastructure Finance Co. Ltd. to help it fund infrastructure projects and $2 billion for expanding the capital base of state-run banks. The balance of $1 billion will be used to upgrade India's power transmission system. For Korean businessmen, now is the perfect time to take advantage of the visits of Mr. Goyal's caliber.
Three Perspectives Agree
These three different perspectives on the vast undertaking which is this Korea Electronics Grand Fair 2009 show one thing in common - now is a time for massive growth and positive thinking in Korean electronics. New advances in industry, new markets opening up, new agreements to take advantage of, and new growth in newly available economies. This all spells success for all parties involved in the Korea Electronics Grand Fair, and testifies to the effectiveness of the event.