Samsung to Spend US$360 Billion on Chips, Biotech Over Five Years

THE Samsung group plans to raise spending by more than 30% to 450 trillion won (about US$360 billion) over the half-decade to 2026 to shore up businesses from chips to drugs as South Korea’s conglomerates grapple with growing economic and supply shocks.

The conglomerate – whose units from Samsung Electronics Co. to Samsung Biologics Co. dominate Korea’s economy – promised in a statement to create 80,000 jobs through 2026, mostly in semiconductors and biopharmaceuticals.

Samsung, run by the scion of one of Korea’s oldest and wealthiest families, is one of a handful of so-called chaebol that are outlining investment plans as the country’s new president takes office. President Yoon Suk Yeol, who began his five-year term May 10, has been a vocal supporter of the conglomerates and has made them a key pillar in his economic growth plans.

The group is focusing particular attention to Samsung Electronics, the crown jewel of a multibillion-dollar sprawling empire that spans shipbuilding, technology, health care and finance. The world’s largest maker of smartphones, displays, memory chips and consumer appliances unveiled plans last year to invest US$151 billion through 2030 to delve deeper into advanced chipmaking. Much of that will go toward its semiconductor division, which is expanding rapidly in an effort to compete with Intel Corp. and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. in making chips for global names such as Nvidia Corp. and Qualcomm Inc.

Samsung Group’s latest investment blueprint, which overlaps with public pledges made in 2021, comes about a year after family scion Jay Y. Lee walked out of jail. The conglomerate’s leader, who was serving a sentence on graft charges, was paroled just months ahead of presidential election earlier this year.

Along with the heads of other prominent chaebol including the Hyundai and SK groups, Samsung is expected to shoulder part of the responsibility for driving growth in a country dealing with rising inflation and supply chain disruptions due to the pandemic and war in Ukraine. Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix Inc. had pledged more than 510 trillion won of investment in semiconductor research and production in the years to 2030 under a national blueprint devised by the previous president’s administration.

In a statement, the group said about 360 trillion won will be spent domestically while the rest will be invested overseas. Samsung Electronics is building an advanced US$17 billion US chip plant in Texas, a win for the Biden administration as it prioritizes supply chain security and greater semiconductor capacity on American soil. Last week, Joe Biden stopped by Samsung’s most advanced chipmaking facility on his first trip to Asia as US president, hailing joint efforts on safeguarding supply chain security. – Bloomberg / pic TMR FILE