Samsung to spend $A30 billion on AI

Gerald Bowen
August 10, 2018

Samsung said it will spend the sum, amounting to 25 trillion won, on increasing the number of artificial intelligence researchers to 1,000 at its artificial intelligence centres around the world, ensuring it will be a global player in next-generation telecoms technology called 5G and on deepening its involvement in electronic components for future cars. "It will continue to invest heavily in the businesses, including developing and manufacturing biosimilars", it said in a statement.

Some of the funding will go to Samsung's biopharmaceutical businesses.

A new set of initiatives will see Samsung become a leading force in building and energising the ecosystem of innovative businesses for the digital economy, opening up a venture incubation programme to both external and internal start-up projects.

The company said a substantial slice of the overall investment pie will be earmarked for South Korea itself, and that overall the investment will create some 40,000 new jobs. Its de facto leader Lee Jae-yong was convicted of corruption a year ago, but released from prison in February.

Lee kept a low profile after his release in February but has been emerging in his public role in recent weeks.

According to figures from IHS Markit, Samsung's shipments fell 10.8 per cent to 70.8 million during the most recent quarter as the Samsung Galaxy S9 failed to fend off competition from the likes of Huawei. The rest will likely be distributed to China, Vietnam and other production lines overseas.

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No company in South Korea can match Samsung's scale in investment or job creation.

"The total investment size is not surprising".

With his case to be reviewed by the Supreme Court, coupled with incumbent President Moon Jae-in's drive to impose tougher restrictions on family-controlled conglomerates, industry watchers said Lee sought to recover the group's public reputation and build a better relationship with the government through the investment.

South Korean voters tired of scandals and critical of big businesses like Samsung elected President Moon to replace Park after she was ousted.

Samsung's share price has fallen about 8% in South Korea so far this year. But its profits have suffered from disappointing sales and slowing demand for some memory chips.

Samsung made the announcement days after its de-facto chief, Lee Jay Y, met with finance minister Kim Dong-yeon, at a chip factory south of Seoul.

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