Seoul Awaits KBO Pitcher’s Unconventional Ambition Against MLB’s MachadoSeoul Announces SK On’s Plans for LFP Battery Mass Production by 2026

Seoul – The Korea Baseball Organization's (KBO) KT Wiz closer Park Yeong-hyun is setting an unconventional goal for himself as he looks forward to pitching against Major League Baseball (MLB) star Manny Machado. Park, who is poised to join the South Korean national team, anticipates this unique encounter during an exhibition game at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul against the San Diego Padres.

According to Yonhap News Agency, manager Lee Kang-chul has indicated that Park Yeong-hyun will be part of the "Team Korea" roster facing the Padres on March 17. This game precedes the Padres' significant opening series against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Seoul, marking a highlight event in the MLB calendar.

The focus, however, is on Park's unusual aspiration regarding his potential face-off with Manny Machado, a decorated MLB player known for his impressive career achievements, including six All-Star selections and notable MVP voting placements. While pitchers typically aim to showcase their skill by outmatching such prominent hitters, Park expressed a distinct perspective, humorously noting his interest in allowing a home run to Machado, whom he respects greatly.

Beyond this light-hearted comment lies Park's awareness of his current readiness for the upcoming season, which starts shortly after the exhibition. Weather disruptions during the Wiz's training camp in Okinawa have left him uncertain about his physical condition and game readiness.

Despite concerns from Wiz manager Lee about the risks of participating in high-profile exhibition games, Park remains focused on his preparation, valuing the experience over the outcome. He aims to harness this opportunity to fine-tune his performance, transitioning into his new role as the team's closer following Kim Jae-yoon's departure.

As Park navigates his dual objectives of facing an MLB luminary and gearing up for the KBO season, his approach reflects a blend of respect for the opposition and dedication to his professional growth, set against the backdrop of international baseball anticipation in Seoul.

Seoul – SK On Co., a subsidiary of the SK Group specializing in battery technology, has revealed its timetable for the mass production of lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries, eyeing a 2026 start based on market demand. This strategic move is aimed at capitalizing on the growing demand for LFP batteries in the electric vehicle (EV) sector.

According to Yonhap News Agency, who spoke at the InterBattery 2024 exhibition in Seoul, the company has completed its internal development phase for LFP batteries. The initiation of mass production is contingent on finalizing agreements with clientele, indicating a responsive approach to market needs.

LFP batteries are gaining traction in the automotive industry, particularly among low to mid-range EVs, due to their safety advantages and cost-effectiveness despite having a lower energy density and reduced range compared to other battery types. South Korean manufacturers, traditionally focused on higher-end lithium-ion and nickel cobalt manganese (NCM) batteries, are now venturing into the LFP space to diversify offerings and meet international demand, especially from automakers seeking safer and more affordable battery options.

The expansion into LFP technology represents a strategic pivot for SK On amid the backdrop of a competitive battery market, largely dominated by Chinese firms renowned for their cost efficiency. However, SK On's leadership sees substantial opportunities for Korean battery companies, particularly in North American markets, where there is significant room for growth and differentiation.

Despite reporting an operating loss in 2023, SK On is optimistic about achieving profitability through various strategies, including cost reduction, productivity enhancement, and securing new contracts. The firm boasts a substantial order backlog and is expanding its manufacturing footprint both domestically and internationally, with plans to launch additional production facilities in Hungary, China, and the United States.

SK On's announcement underscores the dynamic shifts in the global battery industry, highlighting Korean firms' adaptability and strategic foresight in addressing evolving market demands and technological trends.

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