On December 15, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy, at the Grand Ballroom in Intercontinental Hotel, selected 10 best Korean Technologies that were economically influential in 2009. Five were selected as the world's first developed products and the others were picked as the world's best technologies. 10 best technologies were selected by experts in their own fields such as electronics, machinery, aviation, material, chemical, life science, and environment resources. Based on a technology investigation and a field study conducted by Technology Award Committee, experts examined the excellence of technologies and ripple effects on the domestic industry.
Ten chosen technologies are the following: Hyundai Motors - V8 Gasoline Tau Engine; Samsung Electronics - Jet Phone; SKC - Technology of Manufacturing Eco-Friendly Bio-compostable Polylactic Acid Film; Amore Pacific - Ginsenoside (Substance with Cosmetic Effects that mitigate skin aging); Jusung Engineering - Technology of Producing thin-film photovoltaic equipment with the world's highest efficiency; Daejoo Electronic Materials - Vapor Synthesis of Magnesium Oxide for producing plasma display panels (PDP); Samsung Electronics - Eco-friendly Ultraslim LED TV; Dongbu HiTek - Advanced eco-friendly weed-killer; Daewoo Constructions - Integrated high-efficiency biogas production and utilization; Samsung Electronics - In-Mold Antenna (IMA).
Hyundai's Tau Engine Aimed at North American Market
The President's Award was given to Hyundai Motor that exclusively developed V8 gasoline Tau engine. The engine was also selected among top 10 engines of the year by Ward's auto, an automotive industry news magazine. The magazine highlights that Tau engine transmits power smoothly, its power performance has the competitive advantage over other engines, and its reasonable price is attractive. Hyundai and Kia spent almost 4 years from 2005 on R&D to aim for North American markets. Noticing that the only V8 engine selected among top 10 engines of the year is Tau engine, Hyundai now has a great opportunity to increase V8 engine market share. However, it is crucial that Hyundai wins against already dominant competitors such as Audi, Chrysler, BMW, Lexus, and etc in North American market. Audi, for example, uses direct injection technology of Audi FSI®, the 4.2 liter V8 and offers remarkable fuel efficiency. Great engines like this have dominated North American market, but after global financial crisis, original market dominators had been struggling. The situation can be a boon for a new comer to the V8 engine market, but, at the same time, the environment can turn out to be harsh in reality. It is noticeable how Hyundai breaks through the narrow opening of the market.
IMA Signals Beginning of Smaller Mobile Phones
Another winner this day was Samsung Electronics and its In-mold Antenna (IMA). The IMA is a third generation antenna that integrates the features of the mobile phone with its case. Therefore, unlike the first and second generation antenna, the IMA does not need separate space. In addition, its performance has also been enhanced by 30% compared to its forerunners. This is a breakthrough for the mobile phone industry that has been trying to tackle the problem of the antenna. Samsung electronics inserted a 1mm thick sheet of metal inside the case to improve the connectability of the PCB. In addition, the antenna can also act as a black box. Samsung electronics has submitted patents to ten countries including Korea, America, China, and Europe related to this new antenna technology. Until now, the mobile phone antenna has been a hassle because size was directly proportional to performance which meant, 'the bigger the better.' Therefore, there was a limit to the minimization of a mobile phone. Until now, manufacturing companies attached an adhesive film to the back of the case to try and raise spacial efficiency within the phone but this lead to high costs, problems in the processing stage, and low yield. The IMA will show great promise in the global market and with the funds that will be invested into the project, there will certainly be much to talk about next year.
The event was to celebrate the excellence of Korean companies this year. However, the celebration has more meaning than just that. It is a stepping stone for companies to succeed abroad next year. In today's global world, domestic dominance does not guarantee a win against the rest of the world. It is debatable whether the celebration remains in Korea or extends to the global scale. Companies selected at the event will face challenges ahead. However, government seems willing to help companies expand their success. At the event, Rim Che-min, the First Vice Minister of Knowledge Economy, assured to ease regulations that hurt business competitiveness and promised to mainly invest 4 billion and 40 thousand dollars from the MKE's budget on strategic areas such as new growth engines and green energy industries. The companies' performance next year is crucial to watch.