Even more massive than the French recovery plan of 100 billion euros. The South Korean giant Samsung, known in particular for its televisions, smartphones and its electronic chips, announced Tuesday, August 24 an investment plan of historic magnitude: 205 billion dollars – approximately 175 billion euros – by to 2023. Its stated objective: “strengthen its global position in key industrial sectors while spearheading innovation in new areas“, according to the group’s statement.
Staying in the Global Semiconductor Race
Translation: Samsung wants to consolidate its position in the highly strategic semiconductor sector, already the specialty of its flagship Samsung Electronics, and position itself in strategic markets already under attack by the American and Chinese Internet giants, in particular artificial intelligence and robotics.
In the field of semiconductors, the company says it wants to improve advanced technologies to cope with the “long-term demand rather than short-term changes“. And for good reason: despite the global shortage which is beginning to paralyze certain sectors such as the automobile, the semiconductor market is growing strongly – it will weigh 429 billion euros in 2021 against 381 billion euros in 2020 d ‘after a study by IDC.
Above all, this market is largely dominated by the Taiwanese TSMC, which weighs 28% of the market alone in 2020, against 10% for Samsung according to a study by Counterpoints Research. However, the champion of Taipei announced last April a colossal investment plan of 85 billion euros in three years in its factories to drive the nail of its world domination. And it is not the only one with the eyes bigger than the belly: the American Intel also plans to invest 17 billion euros to build semiconductor factories in the United States. It also plans to buy, for an amount that could reach 30 billion euros, one of the other major chip founders, the American GlobalFoundries. What reshuffle the cards of the market and distance Samsung, which pushed the South Korean giant to react.
Samsung’s preferred method will be research and development (R&D), investments and acquisitions. The conglomerate also intends to devote a significant part of its budget to progress in the health sector, via its subsidiaries Samsung Biologics and Samsung Bioepisit. Both to develop its promising vaccine distribution activity, but also to diversify its activities in biotech.
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Even without this massive plan – which is actually a one-third increase in planned investment over the 2021-2023 period, Samsung is already one of the most powerful companies in the world. Founded in 1938 at the end of the Korean War, the global turnover of “chaebol“-conglomerate of companies controlled by a family- weighs a fifth of the gross national product (GNP) of the country.
Unsurprisingly, the plan will therefore mainly benefit South Korea. Of the 240 trillion won (175 billion euros) that Samsung plans to spend, the company will commit three quarters to South Korea. This should make it possible to create 10,000 additional jobs in the country, in addition to the 30,000 already planned. Two new factories – in addition to the three already in operation – will open to manufacture vaccines. Samsung and the South Korean government are also hoping for a deluge of indirect jobs, estimated at 560,000 hires in industries related to those of Samsung.
Samsung totally unmissable in South Korea
The group’s announcement comes days after the conglomerate’s de facto boss, Lee Jae-yong, was released from prison, after serving only half of his sentence. Once again, South Korea has let a boss out of jail on economic grounds after he was jailed for corruption or tax evasion.
Indeed, Lee had been sentenced to two and a half years in prison for embezzlement and other crimes, in connection with a corruption scandal that led to the departure of former South Korean President Park Geun-hye. This conditional release does not, however, sign the end of his legal troubles. He remains prosecuted for stock market manipulation which would have facilitated the takeover of the family conglomerate.
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