Samsung begins its move to Korea’s ‘crystal valley’

By Wohn Dong-hee
JoongAng Daily. June 16, 2004

The curtain has gone up on the age of a “crystal valley” in Korea. This area, in South Chungcheong province, is a 1,020-acre industrial center where liquid crystal display, or LCD, units will be produced.

Samsung Electronics celebrated the move of its LCD headquarters offices from Giheung, Gyeonggi province, to Tangjeong yesterday. About 200 administrative workers and another 800 from Samsung’s high-definition display center in Cheonan City moved into two eight-story buildings that also contain seven production lines.

It will take time to complete the industrial valley, however. In the first stage, Samsung said that it will invest 20 trillion won ($17 billion) until 2010 to add four LCD production lines and relocate affiliated companies. The company hopes to employ about 20,000 workers by 2010 and rack up sales of 10 trillion won a year after that.

Next to this complex will be another 523-acre compound for production facilities. Samsung had previously planned to make this second section an 809-acre company town that would include residential areas and public facilities, but it reduced the scope of the project because of legal problems related to the construction and controversies on over-development of an area.

Starting early next year, Samsung will begin full-scale operation of its current seven production lines to make large panels used in LCD television sets.  “Television sets are becoming larger and more advanced in quality, so we have to keep up with the times and meet the needs of the upgraded tastes of our consumers to make high added-value products,” said President Lee Sang-wan.

When completed, Samsung’s “crystal valley” will surpass in size that of LG. Philips, which is currently under construction in Paju, Gyeonggi province.

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