TOKYO (08/03/2000) - Hyundai Electronics Industries Co. Ltd. on Wednesday spun off its Plasma Display Panel (PDP) division to better focus on core business areas, the company announced the same day.
The new division, which has been christened Ultra Plasma Display Inc., will be headed by Korean PDP technology expert Seoul City University Professor Sun Woo Park and inherits the right to use Hyundai Electronics' clean room for its research, development and manufacturing.
The company will focus on development of flat-panel XGA-resolution displays at sizes larger than 60 diagonal inches for high-definition televisions and VGA-resolution 42-inch display panels. Outside of its plans in the television sector, the company will also expand into the computer monitor sector, said Hyundai.
Hyundai Electronics said it will invest 9 billion won in the company, established with capital of 500 million won (US$448,000), between now and the end of the year. In addition, the new company plans to raise an additional 7 billion won through the issue of new shares.
The move comes as prices for PDPs continue to fall and companies begin to position themselves for the time when the screens will fall into the price range of consumers. Japan's NEC Corp. recently launched a new 42-inch PDP priced at less than 1 million yen ($9,200), the cheapest flat-panel TV in its class yet to come on the market, and rival Matsushita Electric Industrial Co.
Ltd. announced plans to increase PDP production.
Also in Japan, Sony Corp. joined a PDP manufacturing joint venture established by Toshiba Corp. and Hitachi Ltd. Meanwhile, in Korea, two units of LG Electronics recently announced plans to merge, in part to better compete in the flat-panel display market.
PDPs are being positioned by many electronics manufacturers as a digital television-age replacement for today's cathode ray tube. Despite the public's enthusiasm for them because of their size and thickness, they remain outside the price range of most consumers. NEC's television is cheaper than previous models, although at $219 per inch it is still a long way from the Holy Grail of PDP production -- a panel price of $100 per diagonal inch.
Hyundai Electronics, in Seoul, can be contacted at +82-2-3459-5000 or found online at http://www.hei.co.kr/.