Samsung will invest 13.1 trillion won (11 billion U.S. dollars) in the next-generation display business by 2025. At the signing ceremony for new investment and co-growth and cooperation agreement, which took place at Samsung Display’s plant in Asan, South Chungcheong Province on Thursday, Samsung announced that it will invest 10 trillion won (8.4 billion dollars) in facility investment, and 3.1 trillion won (2.61 billion dollars) in research and development to complete the world’s first production facilities for quantum dot (ultrafine light-emitting semiconductor particles) displays. Even for a conglomerate, it is not an easy decision to plan massive investment amid business environment wherein domestic and international economic conditions are challenging and uncertain.
The planned investment draws keen attention especially because the company has decided despite a crisis in the display industry. Samsung and LG have been spearheading the display industry, but their profitability is deteriorating in recent years due to Chinese companies’ rapid chasing and excess production. While conducting onsite inspection in August, Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong said, “We should not give up the large-sized display business just because the LCD business is currently facing hardships,” in urging his company to accelerate development of new technology. The latest strategy aims to gain an upper hand in future technologies in the face of a crisis, and thereby consolidate its unrivaled dominance in the global market.
The Korea Development Institute recently reported that the Korean economy is experiencing a “slump” for seven consecutive months, while the nation’s export has been falling for 11 consecutive months since December last year. The already slowing global economy is in a slump so deep that the International Monetary Fund even warned “90 percent of the whole world will experience slowing growth.” Despite this, Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics have displayed business performances that exceeded market expectations in the third quarter of the year, which results from their undaunted challenges to overcome the crisis.
“I express my respect and gratitude to Korean companies that have been setting the trend by reading changing environment in the global market before their rivals,” President Moon Jae-in said while attending Samsung’s MOU signing ceremony. “The government will spare no assistance to help bolster the next-generation display business.” At a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, the president had demanded the government to come up with measures to address concerns over the 52-hour workweek system issue, which small and medium-sized companies have been raising, as he has continued efforts to help revive the economy. In order to revitalize the economy, the government should take the lead to remove business obstacles to enable companies to play their inherent roles: bold investment and job creation.