The tire maker did not disclose the project's value nor say how many R&D personnel will be based at the new facility — which will be built at Daedeok Innopolis, a hub of Korean industry research — but the company listed in its 2011 annual report a budget of roughly $133 million for the "relocation and rebuilding" of the main R&D center.
Hankook operates R&D facilities at its plant in Daejeon, South Korea, and in Uniontown, Ohio; Hannover, Germany; Jiaxing, China; and Osaka, Japan. The firm spent $105.6 million, or 1.8 percent of sales, in 2011 on R&D activities.
Hankook has selected renowned architects Foster+Partners of London to design the structure. The firms held a signing ceremony Jan. 7 in Daejeon to commemorate their partnership.
"The new R&D center will enable us to accelerate the introduction of new tires with even more advanced features, fulfilling our customers demand for premium quality products," Mr. Cho said.
Foster+Partners, founded by Sir Norman Foster, is noted for its high-tech, future-oriented architectural designs. Among its more well-known projects are the Millennium Bridge and new Wembley Stadium in London, the Reichstag dome in Berlin, the Hong-Kong and Beijing airports as well as the New York Hearst Tower.
Hankook also recently announced the expansion of its R&D efforts in Europe, where its Europe Technical Centre inaugurated new facilities in Hannover.