At LG, we have been delving deeply into design and research that takes full advantage of our technologically advanced era. That's why the work of the design team is geared toward the company's vision of becoming a "Digital Life Creator." From a practical perspective, technology is becoming an increasingly important part of our modern lives. A growing number of products come equipped with "intelligent" microchips and networking options. This design area, though still in its early stages, has great potential. In this context, design plays a critical role in harmonizing technology and human needs-something that requires designers to put on their "inventing caps." Designers are now charged with predicting emerging needs, designing new worlds and lifestyle concepts, and making their inventions available to the public in a timely manner. This trend was started by the Life Soft Research Lab, which was established about 20 years ago. Design plays a crucial role at the Corporate Design Center, even if much of the work within the Center remains largely unseen by the outside world. It is there that researchers, designers, and trend scouts predict the future by examining and identifying consumer needs, observing the public's interest in products, and then developing design concepts and solutions based on this legwork. This means that staffers are always one step ahead of the market and are already working on products for the future. And, apart from its focus on products and technological opportunities, the center also attempts to understand customer and market trends.
LG Electronics has also been pursuing a premium-market strategy in order to participate in the lucrative call for high-end household appliances, mobile phones, and other multimedia products. This is a great opportunity for the company to position itself as an innovative technology firm with a flair for design, and thereby further increasing its market position with a keen focus on becoming a top three global company by 2010. Related to this initiative, LG Electronics now boasts research and development laboratories in more than 25 locations around the world. R&D investments have been continuously increasing, amounting to US $3.1 billion as of last year. Strategic alliances with technological leaders have also been forged as part of LG Electronics' global strategy for growth. And, judging by the company's business performance, it is clear that our strategies are working. The company continues to make great strides toward successfully establishing itself in an increasingly competitive design market. LG Electronics' products are becoming increasingly known for their originality, as well as their coherence within individual product lines.