South Korean electronics company LG checking out Pittsburgh

South Korean electronics company LG checking out Pittsburgh
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Electronics giant LG has its eye on Pittsburgh.

A 40-member delegation from LG, many of them from the company’s South Korea headquarters, will be in the Steel City Monday and Tuesday to discuss possible collaborations with local universities and potential partnerships with or investments in start-ups.

The trip was arranged by city councilman Dan Gilman, who has been courting the electronics, appliance, and cell phone manufacturer for the last two years after making a connection through a former college roommate.

Mr. Gilman is hoping the visit could be the start of something big for LG, based in Seoul, and for Pittsburgh.

“Certainly the fact that three dozen executives are flying in from Korea shows they are both cognizant of the great opportunities there are in Pittsburgh and also that they are very serious about investing in companies and people here in Pittsburgh,” he said.

The Korean delegation is being led by Skott Ahn, LG Electronics chief technical officer. A lot of those on the trip are executives or specialists in areas like robotics, artificial intelligence and manufacturing. Many will be seeing Pittsburgh for the first time.

“LG Electronics is excited to be visiting Pittsburgh to explore ways that we can work with the unique and rich technology ecosystem present,” Mr. Ahn said in a statement.

“Pittsburgh’s strength in robotics and artificial intelligence and their broad applicability to our areas of business make the Pittsburgh area, its educational institutions and startups a natural place for potential LG collaboration in the future.”

One big reason for the trip is to familiarize company executives on what is available in terms of university research, start-up collaboration and potential investment opportunities.

Not surprisingly, a key focus will be robotics and artificial intelligence — particularly with the work being done in Pittsburgh and by Carnegie Mellon University in those areas.

LG has become a big player in supplying automobile information/entertainment systems. It also is doing work on advanced driver assistance systems and electric vehicle propulsion systems.

While the trip is a first to Pittsburgh for many of the LG executives, it’s possible that collaboration, partnerships and investment could happen reasonably quickly.

Pittsburgh and Mr. Gilman certainly will be rolling out the red carpet for the visitors.

The councilman will be hosting a dinner Monday night that will include Mayor Bill Peduto, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Carnegie Mellon and University of Pittsburgh leadership, state community and economic development secretary Dennis Davin, and Allegheny Conference on Community Development representatives.

There also will be visits with numerous academic leaders and about a dozen companies. Mr. Gilman, who hosted a much smaller group from Korea last year, is thrilled about the attention Pittsburgh is getting from LG.

“The recognition from Korea of what’s happening in Pittsburgh is certainly another sign that Pittsburgh has arrived on the global scene,” Mr. Gilman said.

While the emphasis of the trip is on partnerships, and investment, the councilman is hoping that LG also “will consider a permanent physical presence here in the city” at some point.

“I think they are absolutely looking for an opportunity for a research and development center here,” he said.

LG does not have any facilities in the region.

-Pittsburgh Post-Gazette