LG to invest $3.7 billion in South Korea's largest research complex

South Korean conglomerate LG Group has started construction on what is to become the biggest research complex in the country, Jaehwan Cho reports.

The research park, to be called LG Science Park, is to be built within the Magok Industrial Complex at northwestern Seoul, and is set to be completed in 2020.

It will take up roughly 170,000 square-meters — the size of 24 football fields — comprised of 18 buildings and two times larger than LG Group's headquarters, the LG Twin Towers at Yeouido, Seoul.

The company said it will invest a total of 4 trillion won ($3.7 billion) until 2020.

It will house a total of ten LG affiliates: LG Electronics, LG Display, LG Uplus, and LG CNS are to move in on 2017 when the first stage of the construction is completed. LG Chem, LG Hausys, LG Household & Health Care, LG Life Sciences, and SERVEONE will move in later, representatives at LG Corp, the holding company of the group, said.

A total of 25,000 researchers specializing in IT, biology, chemistry, and energy are to move to the park.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye and other senior government officials and LG Group Chairman Koo Bon-moo held a ground-breaking ceremony near the building site.

Koo said he hoped housing workforces with different expertise will allow them to converge their ideas to develop innovative technology. He also said LG affiliates will cooperate with small and mid-size firms and academics as well.

Out of the 18 buildings, two will become "core centres" that will focus on converging ideas of different fields, the chairman added.

To show that the company is eco-friendly, LG is also planning installed over 7,000 solar-power modules on buildings that can produce 3 megawatts of energy per hour each. Light-emitting diodes will be used.

LG has 21,000 employees in its research and development division and spent 3.7 trillion won ($3.5 billion) in research back in 2010. The conglomerate said it expects to invest a total of 5.6 trillion won ($5.3 billion) by the end of the year and have 33,000 employees working in R&D.

The building of Magok Industrial Complex began in 2007 and is expected to be completed in December this year.

"In the 1990s, Majok was just a farmland, but with our new LG Science Park, it will transform into a globally, leading convergence research complex," said a LG spokesman.