LG Electronics is planning to invest approximately $17 billion into next-generation technologies over the course of this year, The Korea Herald's Investor reported Wednesday. The vast majority of the funds will be committed to POLED panels, self-driving equipment, camera solutions, and biotechnologies, with LG viewing all of these sectors as potentially major growth generators in the medium term.
The move is understood to be the latest step in the company's efforts to strengthen its research and development efforts in its home country, with the chaebol also planning to continue accelerating the construction of LG Science Park, a 170,000-square-meter tech hub located southwest of Seoul. The initial phase of the development was concluded in October when 8,000 of the company's R&D employees settled the complex but the construction plan won't be fully completed until 2020. LG's Uplus and Household & Healthcare divisions are expected to move to the hub in March, with the facilities already accommodating a workforce of 12,000 people. By moving the majority of its R&D divisions into a single location, LG is hoping to facilitate its scientific processes and accelerate innovation across all segments going forward, according to recent reports.
The company as a whole is presently doing well, recording positive performance in the vast majority of markets, with one notable exception being its smartphone unit that's still bleeding money. According to LG's recently published consolidated financial report for the fourth quarter of 2017, its mobile division lost more than $200 million in the three-month period ending December 31, with the same operation being over $1 billion in the red in the last three years alone. The troubling performance in the smartphone segment prompted the Seoul-based tech giant to rethink its mobile strategy and scrap the arbitrary 12-month deadline for releasing successors to its Android flagships. The new approach doesn't exclude the possibility of minor hardware revisions and one such variant of the LG V30 Plus is now expected to debut at the 2018 iteration of the Mobile World Congress late this month. The successor to the LG G6 launched at MWC 2017 likely won't be unveiled until mid-2018, with the lineup itself being rumored to be set for a rebranding.