LG breaks ground for science park

LG Group held a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of Korea's largest research and development cluster in Magok, Seoul, Thursday.

The R&D cluster, named LG Science Park, will sit on 170,000 square metres of land, equivalent to 24 football fields, and house 18 R&D centres.

The Korean conglomerate expects for the new research complex to create up to 90,000 jobs a year and 24 trillion won (S$28.8 billion) worth of production.

"LG Science Park, in which LG will invest around 4 trillion won by 2020, will become a state-of-the-art R&D complex where talents in various fields, including electronics, chemicals and communications, pursue innovation," said Koo Bon-moo, LG Group chairman, in his welcoming speech at the ceremony.Among the 500 participants who joined Thursday's ceremony were President Park Geun-hye, Trade, Industry and Energy Minister Yoon Sang-jik, Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon, lawmakers and top executives of LG Group.

Around 25,000 researchers of LG's affiliates, including LG Electronics, LG Display and LG Innotek, will work at the complex to conduct research on technology convergence and to develop trendsetting services and products, an LG official said.

"At the heart of the complex, there will be a joint research centre and a comprehensive support centre that will foster collaboration between those from different businesses," the official added.

South Korea's fourth-largest conglomerate will also run internship programs at the science park and joint research projects with college and university research centres.

The R&D park will serve as a venue where large and small firms work to create innovation together. Small and medium-sized firms and start-ups that have been partnering up with LG will be able to conduct joint research projects and receive R&D consulting services.

The R&D centres to be set up in the science park will be equipped with cutting-edge energy solutions, LG said.

Every building of the science park will sport solar panels that can generate 3 megawatt-hours, enough electricity to power 250 households for a day.

Energy storage systems, smart light-emitting diode lights, and energy-efficient heating and cooling systems will be installed throughout the R&D centres.

The first phase of construction will be completed in 2017 and the research centres will open in 2020.