| Samsung Electronics began making semiconductors in 1974 and mobile phones in 1988. Hyundai Motor started manufacturing in 1968. SK Corp.`s petrochemical business (1962), LG Electronics` TV production (1966) and Hyundai Heavy Industries` shipbuilding (1972) all started in the 1960s and 70s.
The average age of these six key corporations is 41.3. Though they remain the main drivers of the Korean economy, their investments in next-generation business lines are considered insufficient, fueling fears that the country`s leading growth engines are weakening.
Samsung Economic Research Institute said in a recent report that Korea`s six key industries are suffering the triple whammy of stagnant growth, intensifying competition and new risks, adding that the Korean economy is standing on a growth cliff.
Major domestic sectors are aggressively promoting new businesses to lead future growth. The Dong-A Ilbo`s industrial news desk visited the work sites of major companies to assess their new roles in Korea`s future.
Samsung`s key R&D staff have developed 85-inch ultra high-definition TVs, featuring them at the Consumer Electronics Show 2013 in Las Vegas last month and attracting keen attention.
Hyundai Motor, one of the world`s top five carmakers, plans to mass-produce the world`s first car that runs on hydrogen fuel cells this year.
LG, which seeks to regain its share of the world mobile phone market, is endeavoring to commercialize the world`s first service to send pictures to mobile phones through voice based on long-term technology evolution, or LTE.
Hyundai Heavy Industries has established an offshore engineering center in central Seoul to beef up investment in next-generation offshore plants.