S.Korea's Samsung Group to invest 38 bln$ in 2011

South Korea's Samsung Group said Wednesday it plans to spend a massive 43.1 trillion won (38.3 billion dollars) this year as it looks to expand its presence in global markets and develop new businesses.

The nation's largest business group will invest 29.9 trillion won in expanding or building new plants producing semiconductors, liquid crystal display panels and other electronics and an additional 12.1 trillion won on research and development.

The new investment for 2011, up 18 percent from last year, is aimed at cementing "global market dominance of Samsung's major businesses," the group said in its 2011 investment plan.

A Samsung Group flag (R) flutters alongside a South Korean national flag in Seoul

Projected investment in semiconductor plants amounts to 10.3 trillion won, followed by 5.4 trillion won each on those producing liquid crystal display panels and factories making the organic light-emitting diode.

The group this year will hire 25,000 new workers -- also a record and up 11 percent from 2010.

"Uncertainties over the global economy still persist, but we have reached the decision... in an effort to beef up the global competitiveness of our flagship businesses," Samsung said in a statement.

Samsung Electronics, the world's largest maker of flat screens and memory chips, is the standard bearer for the group, which accounts for nearly 20 percent of South Korea's gross domestic product.

The world's second largest maker of mobile phones after Nokia posted a record third-quarter net profit in December as global recovery fanned demand for memory chips and handsets, including popular smartphones.

The firm has strived to expand its presence in the lucrative smartphone and tablet computer markets with its Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab as it goes head to head with US titan Apple and its market-leading iPhone and iPad.

The group's aggressive investment plan for this year comes as it seeks to find new growth engines at the start of a third generation of family management.

Samsung last year unveiled a plan to nurture new businesses including renewable energy and healthcare, with a goal to rack-up sales worth 50 trillion won by 2020.

Jay Y.Lee, the only son of chairman Lee Kun-Hee, was promoted to president of Samsung Electronics last December when his two sisters were also elevated at the group's key subsidiaries, which include hotel and textile affiliates.

Samsung, which means "Three Stars", was launched in 1938 when Lee Byung-Chull, the son of a wealthy landowner, opened a trading company. Samsung Electronics began operations in 1969.

The founder's son Lee Kun-Hee, now 68, led Samsung for almost 20 years and was widely credited with turning it into a global brand.

He stepped down in April 2008 after being charged with tax evasion but returned as chairman of Samsung Electronics in March after receiving a presidential pardon.

Source AFP

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