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Corning starts producing bendable glass in Korea

By Jie Ye-eun

Published : Aug. 31, 2023 - 18:27

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Corning Chairman Wendell Weeks speaks during a press conference in Seoul, Thursday. (Corning Inc.) Corning Chairman Wendell Weeks speaks during a press conference in Seoul, Thursday. (Corning Inc.)

US tech company Corning Inc. Chairman Wendell Weeks announced Thursday that the company is building the world’s first fully integrated supply chain to manufacture next-generation bendable glass technology in South Korea. Manufacturing of the latest product has already kicked off at its Asan plant in South Chungcheong Province.

“Our latest innovation will enable new mobile device form factors and advanced automotive displays for more immersive driving experiences, making this a hub for ultra-thin bendable glass manufacturing,” the chairman said in his first press conference with a group of local reporters in Seoul later in the day.

The Corning chief said the decision was made since Korea has played a significant role as one of the US firm’s "manufacturing and technology centers for customers around the world." Calling Korean consumers the "most innovative in the world," he praised the company's "3,000 dedicated and talented employees here to make challenging technology a reality."

Regarding the bendable glasses' possible utilization plans, Weeks said, "We'll start at one end of the supply chain … and transform it into a final bendable glass device and forward it to our customers all over the world. You can start with something that is small, and then it transforms and then to something larger and different in shape and size, potentially entirely different formats."

Thursday's conference was also to celebrate its 50 years of business here. The US firm entered the Korean market in the early 1970s with consumer products and TV technology, thanks to its partner of 50 years, Samsung, allowing it to stay in the TV business across the region.

The chairman showed appreciation to Korea for being "our home away from home" and thanked Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Jae-yong for his friendship, wisdom and partnership multiple times.

"Without you and dedicated people here in Korea, the magnitude of the success that we celebrate today simply would not be possible," he said. "I am so proud of all that we have accomplished together, and I look forward to another years of partnership and innovation as we reimagine the possibilities for today and tomorrow together."

The Corning chief is also planning to celebrate the firm's 50 years of business in Korea with the Samsung chief and talk about the next possible partnership on Friday. Ahead of Thursday's conference, Weeks also met Hyundai Motor Group Executive Chair Chung Euisun, celebrating the 37 years of partnership between the two companies.

So far, Corning has invested over $15 billion in advanced manufacturing and research and development facilities, collaborating with Korean customers to propel display glass technology forward, making possible LCD and OLED televisions, monitors, laptops, tablets and mobile phones.

The US firm has also offered vehicle exterior and interior innovations for more connected and autonomous driving experiences. As Korea's communications infrastructure has evolved to fiber-optic networks, Corning has played a crucial role in providing technologically advanced optical network solutions as well.