South Korea's big corporations investing over $100b in 2016

Investment is 5.2 percent up on 2015, with R&D spending only 0.1 of a percentage point higher than last year.
Written by Philip Iglauer, Contributor

The 30 largest conglomerates in South Korea are investing 122.7 trillion won ($100.99 billion) in their businesses this year, a 5.2 percent increase over the 116.6 trillion won ($95.97 billion) invested last year, according to the country's top business association.

But the conglomerates are investing a smaller proportion into R&D this year.

Some 90.9 trillion won ($74.81 billion) will go to facilities this year, about 74 percent of the total investment, the Federation of Korean Industries said during its annual meeting in Seoul on March 9. That is an increase of 7.1 percent from the previous year, but the country's top 30 companies will only spend 31.8 trillion won ($26.17 billion) on R&D, a miniscule 0.1 of a percentage point higher than 2015.

"Despite the weak economic situation at home and abroad, major enterprises will make bold facility investments in such fields as semiconductors, organic light-emitting diodes (OLED), logistics, and energy, and focus on R&D investments to develop their new growth engines," the FKI said in a press release.

By company, Samsung Group will invest a total of 15.6 trillion won ($12.84 billion) through to 2018, including funds for the construction of a semiconductor facility in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province.

Hyundai Motor Group will spend over the next two years 13.4 trillion won ($11.03 billion) to develop next-generation, eco-friendly smart cars.

SK Hynix will invest 5.4 trillion won in semiconductor facilities, and SK Telecom will allocate 1.3 trillion won ($1.07 billion) this year on network infrastructure.

LG Group will spend 14 trillion won ($11.52 billion) to expand its OLED manufacturing facilities and build an "LG Science Park". The park is slated to be completed by 2020.

According to the FKI, the overall investment outlook results from 18 groups increasing their investment somewhat this year; three allotting about the same amount as last year; and nine groups actually decreasing their investments for 2016. Joo Hyunghwan, minister of Trade, Industry and Energy, presided over the FKI's meeting this year.

Source: ZDNet.co.kr

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