In an event held at the Westin Chosun Hotel in central Seoul and attended by the Trade, Industry, and Energy Minister, Sung Yun-mo; the three major Korean battery companies, LG Chem; Samsung SDI; and SK Innovation; have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to jointly create a fund of 100 billion won ($88.04 million) to acquire next-generation battery technology and support promising rechargeable battery companies.

The fund, all set to be established in the first quarter of 2019, shall invest in the research and development of next-generation battery technologies that have high energy density and are safe and inexpensive. The demand for lithium-ion batteries used in electric cars and energy storage systems has been rising consistently. A report from last year by the Korea Energy Economics Institute claims that the lithium-ion batteries used for electric cars have risen 76 percent annually since 2012. This has prompted the attempt to develop three solid-state batteries, including lithium metal batteries, and lithium-sulphur batteries, which shall help develop core technologies for next-generation battery materials, processes, and equipment.

The rechargeable battery market is a new high-growth industry that will exceed that of memory semiconductors. With today’s MOU, I am hoping for the formation of second and third battery funds and that the funds become the foundation that helps place our country in the leading position in the battery and electric car markets. – Sung Yun-mo, Trade, Industry, and Energy Minister

With signing a separate agreement to create a planning committee for battery technology and jointly invest in next-generation battery research and development the three companies have become the first to put their competition for global market leadership aside to come together in favour of joint technology development and joint response to overseas IP attacks and to make the next generation industrial ecosystem together, instead of individual research or individual response.

China is actively nurturing front and rear markets based on its huge domestic market and abundant resources. Japan is trying to keep its position as a successor through next generation battery development based on material technology. We are looking forward to forming the second and third battery funds in the future and hope to be the cornerstone for Korea to take the lead in the electric vehicle market as well as batteries. – – Sung Yun-mo, Trade, Industry, and Energy Minister

So far as Government help is concerned, the Korean government has decided to actively eliminate the obstacle impeding innovation growth in order to facilitate the expansion of the domestic investment of secondary battery industry.

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