Annual pilgrimage to CES starts

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Annual pilgrimage to CES starts

With the Consumer Electronics Show only 10 days away, Korea’s leading tech companies and automakers are getting ready to show off their latest innovations and top managers are scrambling to take part in the world’s biggest annual tech show, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, Hyundai Motor and LG U+ are the top Korean participants in the show, which is scheduled from Jan. 5 to Jan. 8.

Samsung Electronics is sending a team of consumer electronics leaders including Yoon Boo-keun, president of the consumer electronics division and Park Jong-hwan, head of Samsung’s automotive division, who recently led the acquisition of Harman International, a leading automotive parts supplier.

The company will showcase a new television with a third-generation quantum dot display. Quantum dot refers to minute crystals that produce better colors than older, light-emitting diode lights and filters. Samsung, which has leadership in the quantum dot TV segment, has upgraded the quality and brightness of its displays, according to industry sources. It hopes other TV makers worldwide will adopt quantum dot as the standard for next generation TVs.

Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, who missed the show for the last three years, was expected to take part this time after he was appointed to the company’s board, essentially completing the leadership transition from his father.

The embarrassing and costly discontinuation of the Galaxy Note 7 also spurred expectations that Lee would step into the global spotlight to help improve Samsung’s image.

However, Lee has been dragged into the abuse of power scandal that led to the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye. The government has prohibited him from leaving Korea.

Competitor LG Electronics is sending its own delegation to Las Vegas including Vice Chairman Jo Seong-jin, who was promoted from being the head of the company’s home appliances division this month. The new home appliances and air systems division head Song Dae-hyun, mobile communications division head Cho Jun-ho and chief of vehicle components division Lee Woo-jong will also be going.

LG, weaker at mobile phone making and stronger in home appliances, will unveil a wide range of smart home appliances. According to LG, it applied deep learning technology to its electronics products, which enables continuous data accumulation and self learning by machines.

For instance, LG’s deep learning-enabled air conditioner adjusts room temperatures by analyzing customer patterns. The company will also show its newest robotic vacuum cleaner and a refrigerator equipped with deep learning technology.

To counter Samsung’s quantum dot strategy, LG is introducing an upgraded version of TVs with organic light-emitting diode, or OLED, displays. OLED is known for its quality color saturation and deep blacks.

LG Group Vice Chairman Koo Bon-joon, industry insiders say, is expected to be at Vegas as well. Koo attended CES earlier this year and toured booths of global automakers, such as General Motors and Ford.

As Koo, the younger brother of Chairman Koo Bon-moo, is leading development of LG’s new business opportunities, he is expected to study trends for next year at CES.

Chung Eui-sun, vice chairman of Hyundai Motor, will go to Vegas to lead demonstrations of the automaker’s latest technologies for autonomous, internet-connected smart cars.

Among Korea’s mobile carriers, LG U+ Vice Chairman Kwon Young-soo confirmed his visit to CES in search of new cash cow business.

“Kwon will discuss business opportunities with global internet communications technology companies,” LG U+ said in a statement Tuesday.


BY KIM JEE-HEE [kim.jeehee@joongang.co.kr]
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