Samsung to plug $160bn into new technology in major growth push

The spending will boost research and expenditure in artificial intelligence fifth-generation wireless networks bio-pharmaceuticals among other things

The spending will boost research and expenditure in artificial intelligence fifth-generation wireless networks bio-pharmaceuticals among other things

A woman walks past the logo of Samsung at the company's showroom in Seoul on July 31, 2018.

Samsung is putting more than $22 billion toward artificial intelligence, 5G networks, biopharmaceuticals and electronic automotive parts over the next three years.

The investment is also part of a bigger 180 trillion won three-year plan to create jobs and secure fresh revenue streams, providing the first hint of direction for Samsung since group heir Jay Y. Lee was released from jail in February on a suspended sentence following a conviction for bribery.

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Last week, Samsung Electronics posted its slowest quarterly profit growth in more than a year following a slowdown in the global smartphone market.

Samsung Group, South Korea's biggest family-controlled conglomerate, said Wednesday that it will invest 180 trillion won (about 160 billion US dollars) and hire 40,000 more employees for the next three years. "It will continue to invest heavily in the businesses, including developing and manufacturing biosimilars", it said in a statement.

The company said it expected to add 40,000 new jobs over the next three years, in news that will likely bring relief to South Korea's government which is now struggling with high youth unemployment.

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For Samsung, the latest investment plan goes beyond fostering new growth engines and came to be seen as a concerted effort to move past its tainted reputation caused by Lee's connection to a political scandal that led to the impeachment of former President Park Geun-hye.

Critics say Kim's meeting with Lee may send a wrong signal to the court that the government backs leniency for the beleaguered businessman. Moon requested Lee to make more investment in Asia's fourth-largest economy that can help fuel employment opportunities. Samsung plans to allocate 25 trillion won in such fields. Samsung, hit hard by the financial crisis in the late 1990s, sold off its then five-year-old auto business to France's Renault Group back in 2000.

"Samsung aims to become a leader in electronics components for future cars such as system-on-chips for autonomous driving, utilizing its leadership in semiconductors, telecommunications and display technologies", stated the Samsung investment announcement.

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