$22bn investment and 40,000 jobs - Samsung's new technology pathway

Ruben Fields
August 10, 2018

Of the total, 130 trillion won will be spent in South Korea, and is expected to create 40,000 jobs, or 20,000 more than its previous hiring plans, Samsung said. The investments will be focused on artificial intelligence, 5G network technology, electric components for cars of the future, and biopharmaceuticals.

It said it wants to invest in AI because it believes future innovations will be based around the technology, and it said that 5G will power new opportunities in autonomous driving, the Internet of Things (IoT), and robotics.

As for the bio business, Samsung claimed that it wishes to foster the segment to become another major pillar of its portfolio like semiconductors. Samsung has been beefing up its contract drug making operations to help counter a potential decline in its mainstay electronics businesses. Samsung, hit hard by the financial crisis in the late 1990s, sold off its then five-year-old vehicle business to France's Renault Group back in 2000.

The company is one of the largest employers in South Korea, and is seen as one of the nation's shining lights to the rest of the world - a reputation that was severely damaged a year ago when company heir Jay Y.Lee was imprisoned on bribery charges.

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Lee kept a low profile after his release in February but has been emerging in his public role in recent weeks. Nearly three-quarters of that investment will be made at home, it said in a statement. The plan, for instance, will boost Samsung's global roster of advanced AI researchers to 1,000. The rest will likely be distributed to China, Vietnam and other production lines overseas.

The figure translates into around 43 trillion won annually, which is similar to Samsung's record high facility investment of 43.4 trillion won made past year.

The new strategy will entail an overhaul of Samsung's internal venture incubation program, said the company. But even by Samsung's standard, the size of the investment announced Wednesday was huge.

Moon pledged to reform outdated practices and abuses in politics and in business and appointed a critic of big conglomerates, known as "chaebols", to lead South Korea's fair-trade commission.

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