By Joo Kyung-don
SEOUL, Aug. 24 (Yonhap) -- Samsung Group, the country's top conglomerate, said Tuesday that its mainstay Samsung Electronics Co. and other affiliates plan to invest a combined 240 trillion won (US$205 billion) over the next three years in a move to secure future growth engines and expand technology leadership in the post COVID-19 era.
With 180 trillion won, or 75 percent of the amount, allocated to South Korea, the conglomerate also vowed to directly hire 40,000 more employees through 2023.
Samsung's latest investment plan is 60 trillion won larger than its previous three-year investment pledge in 2018.
Samsung's announcement came 11 days after Lee Jae-yong, the de-facto head of South Korea's largest conglomerate, was paroled. Lee, Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman, had been serving prison time since January following a retrial of a bribery case involving former President Park Geun-hye.
Samsung said its latest investment will be used to foster its strategic businesses, including semiconductors, pharmaceuticals, next-generation communication networks and IT research, though it did not reveal how much money will be spent on each sector.
Its crown jewel, Samsung Electronics, will target early development of advanced nodes and cement its dominance in the memory sector while beefing up its competitiveness in the logic chip business.
"For memory, we will continue R&D and infrastructure investment with focus on mid-to-long term demand instead of short-term market changes," it said. "For logic chips, we plan to actively execute our existing investment plan early."
The tech giant previously announced that it will invest 171 trillion won in the logic chip and foundry sectors by 2030 to become the No. 1 player.
Samsung Electronics said that its aggressive investment in the semiconductor business can be called a "survival plan" as rivals move ahead to control the global chip supply chain amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), the world's largest contract chip maker, recently revealed that it will invest $100 billion over the next three years for capacity expansion.
With its new $12 billion chip plant in Arizona set for mass-production in 2024, speculation has been growing that TSMC may also build chip factories in Germany and Japan.
Intel Corp., the world's leading semiconductor seller, also announced that it will invest $20 billion to expand its chipmaking capacity in the U.S. and is looking to re-enter the foundry business with the company reportedly reviewing a deal to acquire GlobalFoundries Inc.
Samsung also plans to boost its pharmaceutical business through its affiliates Samsung BioLogics Co. and Samsung Bioepis Co.
"We will continue to make aggressive investments for the contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) sector and expand our leading status as a biopharmaceutical production hub by building our fifth and sixth factories," it said. "Not only biopharmaceutical products, we also plan to enter the CDMO business in vaccines and gene therapy drugs."
Samsung BioLogics is currently building its fourth plant, which will make the company the world's dominant leader in the CDMO sector with 620,000 liters of capacity.
For other businesses, Samsung plans to increase its investment in next-generation communication network solutions by reinforcing its software capabilities and workforces.
The conglomerate also vowed to boost its R&D competitiveness in future technologies, including artificial intelligence, robots and super computers. It will beef up its leadership in displays and batteries as well.
To help the national economy recover from the COVID-19 impact, Samsung will greatly increase the number of its staff by creating 40,000 jobs over the next three years. As of the first half of the year, Samsung Electronics had 111,683 employees.
Samsung claimed that its massive investment plan will have the effect of creating some 560,000 jobs in the cited period.
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