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Technology

High-level executives from Korean electronics giant LG visiting Pittsburgh

Aaron Aupperlee
| Monday, Nov. 13, 2017, 1:21 p.m.
Skott Ahn, President and Chief Technology Officer for LG Electronics, speaks during an LG news conference before CES International, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Skott Ahn, President and Chief Technology Officer for LG Electronics, speaks during an LG news conference before CES International, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
FILE - In this May 21, 2013 file photo, South Korean models pose with LG Electronics' organic light-emitting diode (OLED) TVs during the World IT Show in Seoul, South Korea. Samsung Electronics Co., which is preparing for the global launch of the Galaxy S5 smartphone on April 11, 2014, said it is making “concentrated efforts” to ensure its communications around the world respectfully portray women. Some of its promotions and corporate events in the past year were criticized as sexist and demeaning. The advertising of LG Electronics Inc. has also been under scrutiny in South Korea and abroad for its portrayal of women. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man, File)
FILE - In this May 21, 2013 file photo, South Korean models pose with LG Electronics' organic light-emitting diode (OLED) TVs during the World IT Show in Seoul, South Korea. Samsung Electronics Co., which is preparing for the global launch of the Galaxy S5 smartphone on April 11, 2014, said it is making “concentrated efforts” to ensure its communications around the world respectfully portray women. Some of its promotions and corporate events in the past year were criticized as sexist and demeaning. The advertising of LG Electronics Inc. has also been under scrutiny in South Korea and abroad for its portrayal of women. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man, File)

Pittsburgh's rivers, bridges and hills have already impressed a delegation of high-level executives visiting the city from the Korean technology giant LG Electronics.

City Councilman Dan Gilman, who orchestrated the trip, said the group remarked on the city's beauty as they met for breakfast Monday morning on the campus of Carnegie Mellon University.

The delegation, which numbers about 45 and includes LG President CTO Skott Ahn, landed in Pittsburgh on Sunday and will leave Tuesday.

“I hope their impression is this is a city where we need to be,” Gilman said.

The delegation will meet with faculty and researchers at CMU to hear about projects and initiatives there and tour several companies to learn what they are working on, Gilman said. Gilman said he couldn't comment on whether the visit signaled a particular deal or investment by LG.

“I think they want a broad sense of the ecosystem here,” Gilman said. “I don't think it's one company or one technology they are interested in.”

Gilman said the delegation was interested in meeting with companies and researchers working on self-driving cars and artificial intelligence.

Ahn said at CES in January in Las Vegas that LG would be using AI, robots, the Internet of Things and the cloud to make better products and appliances, according to reporting by VentureBeat .

Gilman has been communicating with LG for a couple of years. He connected with the company through a house mate from his days as a student at CMU. Leaders from LG's California office and a small group from Korea has visited Pittsburgh in the past, Gilman said.

“For me, it's about building the relationship long term and the benefits that can come from the relationship in the long term,” Gilman said.

The delegation will have dinner Monday with Mayor Bill Peduto, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, state Economic Development Secretary Dennis Davin, the Urban Redevelopment Authority Director Tom Link and officials from the governor's office, the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, University of Pittsburgh and CMU.

“We hope they leave with a positive impression that Pittsburgh is a good place to do business,” Fitzgerald said. “That Pittsburgh would be a good place that they could plant their flag and grow.”

Fitzgerald said he meets with technology companies eyeing Pittsburgh frequently and interest has accelerated since Amazon announced it was looking for a city to become its second headquarters. Pittsburgh made several shortlists for potential sites, putting its abundance of tech talent, low cost of living and welcoming atmosphere out there for the world to see, Fitzgerald said.

“There's kind of a momentum that is sort of picking up,” Fitzgerald said. “We had hoped that would be the case.”

Fitzgerald declined to say what companies he has met with recently.

Pittsburgh submitted its bid for Amazon's second headquarters last month. Amazon intends to announce the winning city next year.

Aaron Aupperlee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at aaupperlee@tribweb.com, 412-336-8448 or via Twitter @tinynotebook.

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