A new plasma display panel technology developed by LG Electronics has
been leaked to a Chinese company, dealing a loss of one trillion won,
or more than one billion dollars, to the Korean economy.
Seoul prosecutors indicted yesterday a former LG manager for
corporate espionage. The 49-year-old man, identified only by his last
name Jeong, allegedly leaked the new technology to Changhong-Orion
PDP-Chaihong of China.
Two other LG employees also face charges of corporate espionage.
Sources said Jeong copied 1,182 files on his portable hard disk
in July 2005 just before leaving LG. The files contained key pieces of
the PDP technology, including information on equipment arrangement and
setup in the plant and what types of equipment were used.
The Chinese company hired Jeong in February last year, giving
him an annual salary of 300,000 dollars, an apartment and a vehicle. In
return, he handed over secret information on LG.
Between March and September last year, the other two suspects
collaborated with Jeong and provided him with sensitive information via
e-mail and CD-ROM on the plant’s power structure and construction
blueprints. Upon receipt, Jeong gave the information to the Chinese
In February last year, Jeong moved to Szechuan, where the Chinese company was building a plant, to consult on technical matters.
He dropped by Korea to visit his family this year, and was
arrested Jan. 19, three days prior to his scheduled return to China to
help Changhong-Orion PDP-Chaihong install production equipment.
The technology Jeong sold can dramatically improve PDP
production, enabling the taking of eight panels from a single glass. LG
Electronics has been producing plasma panels with the new technology
since July last year, and is only the third company to have it along
with Samsung SDI and Matsushita of Japan.
Changhong-Orion PDP-Chaihong was formed after Changhong Electric
of China bought Orion PDP of Korea in 2006 to acquire PDP technology.
The Chinese company will start making plasma panels from this December
with the LG technology that it bought from Jeong.