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Samsung makes largest R&D investment in Q1


Despite uncertainties in the global business environment triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, South Korea’s biggest tech giant Samsung Electronics said Monday it made the largest-ever investment in research and development in the first quarter.

The South Korean tech giant spent a total of 5.36 trillion won ($4.37 billion) on R&D activities in the January-March period, surpassing its previous record of 5.32 trillion won in the fourth quarter of 2018, its financial data reported to the Financial Supervisory Service showed.

The R&D spending accounted for 9.7 percent of the company’s sales in the first quarter, growing slightly from the same period last year.

Except for the final quarter of last year, when Samsung suffered the downcycle in the semiconductor market, the tech titan had continued making over 5 trillion won worth investment in the R&D sector per quarter since late 2018.

Last year, the company’s total R&D investment stood at 20.19 trillion won, exceeding the 20 trillion won mark for the first time.

Although the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to be reflected in its performance in the second quarter, Samsung is likely to maintain the R&D investment amount each quarter with a plan to spend more than 20 trillion won throughout the year.

“Despite the highly uncertain market conditions upon the pandemic, Samsung will continue making consistent investments on technologies in order to widen the gap with competitors,” said Kim Ki-nam, vice chairman of Samsung’s semiconductor division at the company’s shareholders meeting in March.

The tech giant has two mid- and long-term investment plans: To spend 133 trillion won on establishing R&D and manufacturing infrastructure for the system-on-chip business by 2030, and 13 trillion won on its new quantum-dot display business by 2025.

By Song Su-hyun (