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2016년 12월

2016년 12월 1일 (목요일)

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Vigils hit record of 1.9 million

Organizers say main rally in Seoul attended by 1.5 million people.

Braving winter cold and snow, an estimated 1.9 million people took to the streets nationwide Saturday calling once again for President Park Geun-hye to resign amid an ever-broadening abuse of power scandal.

Saturday’s rally was the fifth of its kind in which protesters demanded Park resign or be impeached for letting her longtime friend Choi Soon-sil pull strings from behind the scenes in state affairs, extort money from conglomerates and get hold of classified information - without any formal role in Park’s administration.

The rally organizers, an association of various civic, labor and legal groups, estimated the number of people on the streets of Gwanghwamun Square in downtown Seoul at 1.5 million, while the police put the figure substantially lower at 270,000.

An estimated 400,000 outside of Seoul took to the streets with candles in a rare show of political solidarity in a country usually marked by an acute ideological division between so-called liberals and conservatives.

But that solidarity is now becoming a weekly phenomenon.

As in the four previous Saturday rallies, people from all walks of life partook in a kind of political festival ranging from parents with children in strollers, middle and high school students in school uniforms, to a woman riding a cow she had brought to Seoul. They chanted “Park must resign” and held signs that read, “Out with Park Geun-hye.”

Reflecting an indictment of Choi filed last week in which prosecutors identified President Park as a co-conspirator in a number of schemes, people changed “Arrest Park Geun-hye!,” which wasn’t heard at previous rallies.

“I decided to be out on the streets with my two kids today because this is the country in which they have to live their lives,” Lee Jong-hwa, 47, told the Korea JoongAng Daily. “I want to give them a country that will be better than what we have had so far under the Park presidency.”

Lee, who came to the rally with his wife, 11-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter, said the so-called Choi-gate scandal was illustrative of the ethical backwardness of the political elite in the country.

“While the ethical standards of the general public have progressed in line with economic growth, in the political circle they have lagged far behind. Choi-gate has laid bare that backwardness,” he said.

Hankyoreh, a local newspaper, interviewed a woman riding a cow as she marched through the street with other protesters. When asked if she thought riding a cow in the middle of Seoul was dangerous, the woman replied “Keeping Park in power is much more dangerous,” according to the paper.

“It’s a fact that President Park tried to cover up her scandal and refuses to acknowledge her wrongdoing,” said Nam Jun-keol, who came to Gwanghwamun Square from Cheongju, North Chungcheong, with his wife. 

“I want her out of office immediately,” said the 31-year-old. 

Kwon Young-cheol, who came from Suwon, Gyeonggi, with his wife and 4 year-old son in a stroller, said he was most enraged about Park’s inaction in the hours after the ferry Sewol sank in waters off South Jeolla on the morning of April 16, 2014, a tragedy that eventually left 304 people dead. 

“The governing party and the Blue House have not issued a single sincere apology for their incompetence on that day,” said Kwon.

For the fifth rally in the heart of Seoul, people deployed a variety of creative banners to denounce the Park administration.

In mockery of news reports this week that the presidential office had purchased 60 Viagra pills and over 300 pills of a generic equivalent, one person marched with a banner that read: “Korea’s Impotence in Alpine Zone Laboratory” under an image of a Viagra pill. 

The line refers to the presidential office’s explanation that the pills were purchased to counteract altitude sickness for people accompanying the president on trips in May to Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda. 

Protesters were allowed to march to a point 200 meters (650 feet) west of the Blue House at around 4 p.m. Saturday, the closest the police had ever allowed. The line of people surrounding the Blue House west to east stretched 2 kilometers. At the rally’s peak, about 350,000 people encircled the presidential compound shouting for Park’s resignation.

Protesters were able to get so close to the presidential office after a local court gave permission between the hours of 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. After the 5:30 p.m. deadline set by the court, protesters withdrew from that front line and returned to Gwanghwamun Square to avoid confrontations with the police - a departure from street rallies in past years, which regularly turned violent.

The highlight of the Saturday rally came at 8 p.m., when a million people turned off their mobile phones and blew out candles to plunge the area into darkness for two minutes. The move was meant to signify “darkness brought upon to the country by the Park government,” according to the organizer.

Park’s approval rating reached an all-time low of 4 percent in the latest poll by Gallup Korea. The figure, the lowest for any Korean president, is down one percent from a week before. In another poll by the JoongAng Ilbo conducted on Monday and Tuesday, 75.5 percent of respondents said Park must resign voluntarily. 

15.9 percent said she should be impeached.

Protesters stayed in the area until as late as 5 a.m. Sunday without major injuries or scuffles with the police. In Busan, the country’s second-largest city, about 80,000 took to the streets Saturday. The sixth rally is expected this Saturday. 


2016년 12월 6일 (화요일)
New Chinese Companies Start to Invest into Display Panels
중국에 새로운 패널 경쟁사 등장설 `모락모락`

There have been predictions that new Chinese companies other than current Chinese display manufacturers are planning to invest into displays. As there is lack of supplies due to increase in demands for OLEDs, Chinese companies are planning to develop their own display panels considering the possible growth of markets for display panels. Although exact size of investments and schedules have not been mentioned yet, industries are interested whether or not there will be an increase in number of companies that are going to invest into display panels.

According to Chinese media on the 30th, there is a chance that a Smartphone and telecommunication equipment manufacturer called Huawei, a Smartphone manufacturer called VIVO and OPPO’s parent company called BBK, and Royole, which is a startup company specializing in flexible display technology, will make new investments into flexible OLEDs in 2017.

Movements by Huawei and BBK are drawing the most attention. Huawei, OPPO, and VIVO are all Smartphone manufacturers that have high market shares in China. They have drawn popularities from Chinese with Smartphones with OLED panels.

It is heard that BBK has set up a separate corporate called MGV that manufacturers display panels. It is heard that BBK will release a new Smartphone brand other than OPPO and VIVO and this will cause increase in demands for small and medium panels. It believes that it has a chance of winning in producing its own panels since Chinese central government and local governments are actively supporting for investments in display panels.

Industries predict that MGV will make investments so that it secures capabilities to produce 60,000 OLED panels per month. Although detailed schedule and location are not known, there is a high chance that MGV will secure such production capabilities by making investments from 2017 to 2019.

Industries predict that Royole will try to secure capabilities to produce 45,000 5.5th generation flexible and rigid OLED panels per month by making investments in 2017 and 2018. Royole is planning to construct its production lines in Shenzhen.

As Chinese display manufacturers modify their plans for investments into OLED panels this year, they are planning to start making investments that were originally planned for this year. Number of investments from Chinese companies is increasing as it is predicted that new companies are planning to make investments.

Some industries point out that Chinese companies need to be careful in making investments. Although local governments and Chinese companies are making aggressive investments towards OLED panels as they share same intentions of increasing local competitive edge by attracting production facilities, some industries point out that they need to consider their actual technical skills and yields.

This is actually a positive sign for South Korea’s equipment manufacturers. Not only Chinese panel manufacturers prefer their equipment that was already verified by Samsung Display and LG Display but they are naturally participating in investments for OLED facilities as their technical skills and brands were known to Chinese companies while they were investing into LCD facilities.

“South Korea’s display equipment manufacturers have high expectations from investments that will take place in Chinese markets in 2017.” said a representative for a equipment manufacturer. “If more companies make new investments towards OLED panels, amount of increase in performance of South Korean display equipment manufacturers might become even bigger.”

중국에서 기존 디스플레이 기업 외에 새로운 기업들이 디스플레이 투자에 뛰어들 것이라는 전망이 제기됐다. 유기발광다이오드(OLED) 수요 급증으로 공급 부족현상이 빚어지자 향후 시장 성장성을 감안해 자체 제작에 뛰어드는 것이다. 구체적 투자 규모와 일정은 아직 거론되지 않았지만 새롭게 OLED 투자 열풍에 참여하는 기업이 늘어날 것인지 여부에 눈길이 쏠렸다.

30일 중국 언론들에 따르면 스마트폰과 통신장비 기업 화웨이, 스마트폰 제조사인 비보와 오포의 모기업 BBK, 플렉시블 디스플레이 기술 스타트업 로욜(Royole)이 내년에 새롭게 플렉시블 OLED 투자에 뛰어들 가능성이 있다.

가장 눈길을 끄는 것은 화웨이와 BBK 움직임이다. 화웨이, 오포, 비보 모두 중국에서 점유율이 높은 스마트폰 브랜드 제조사다. OLED를 탑재한 스마트폰으로 중국에서 인기를 얻었다.

BBK는 디스플레이 패널을 제조사는 별도 법인 MGV를 만든 것으로 알려졌다. 오포와 비보 외에 새로운 스마트폰 브랜드를 출시할 것으로 알려져 앞으로 중소형 패널 수요가 더 증가할 것으로 보인다. 중국 중앙정부와 지방정부가 디스플레이 투자를 적극적으로 지원하는 만큼 자체적인 패널 생산이 승산이 있다고 판단한 것으로 보인다.

업계는 MGV가 월 6만여장 규모 OLED 생산능력을 갖추는 투자를 할 것으로 전망했다. 구체적 일정과 위치는 알려지지 않았지만 내년부터 2019년에 걸쳐 생산능력을 확보할 가능성이 높다고 내다봤다.

로욜은 내년과 2018년에 걸쳐 약 월 4만5000장 규모의 5.5세대 플렉시블과 리지드 OLED 패널 생산능력을 확보할 것으로 업계는 예측했다. 생산라인은 선전에 위치할 예정이다.

올해 중국 디스플레이 기업들이 OLED 투자 계획을 조정하면서 당초 올해 계획한 투자 일부를 내년부터 시작할 계획이다. 새로운 기업들도 OLED 투자에 합류할 것으로 점쳐지는 등 중국의 투자 열기가 계속 달아오르고 있다.

일각에서는 OLED 투자 열풍에 신중해야 한다는 지적도 제기됐다. 생산설비를 유치해 지역 경제력을 높이려는 지방정부와 기업 의지가 맞물리면서 OLED에 공격적으로 투자하고 있지만 실제 기술력과 수율 등을 감안해야 한다는 목소리도 있다.

국내 장비 기업에는 호재다. 중국 패널 기업들이 삼성디스플레이와 LG디스플레이에서 검증받은 장비를 선호하는데다 이미 LCD 설비 투자 과정에서 기술력과 브랜드를 알려 자연스럽게 OLED 설비 투자에 참여하고 있기 때문이다.

한 장비기업 관계자는 “국내 디스플레이 장비 기업들은 내년 중국시장 투자 규모에 대한 기대감이 크다”며 “새롭게 투자할 가능성이 제기된 기업들이 더해지면 내년 실적 확대폭이 더 커질 수 있다”고 말했다.