Big Firms' R&D Spending Reaches Record High in 2023 Despite Lower Earnings | Be Korea-savvy

Big Firms’ R&D Spending Reaches Record High in 2023 Despite Lower Earnings

Samsung headquarters in Seoul's Seocho district (Image courtesy of Yonhap)

Samsung headquarters in Seoul’s Seocho district (Image courtesy of Yonhap)

SEOUL, Jun. 23 (Korea Bizwire) – Research and development (R&D) expenditures by major South Korean companies hit an all-time high last year despite their falling sales amid an economic slowdown, data showed Sunday.

The country’s top 1,000 companies made investments of 72.5 trillion won (US$52.12 billion) combined in 2023, up 8.7 percent from a year earlier, according to the data from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and the Korea Institute for Advancement of Technology.

It was the largest ever amount, it showed.

The increase came despite their sales falling 2.8 percent on-year to 1,642 trillion won, and the proportion of corporate R&D investment out of sales rose 4.4 percent in 2023 from the previous year’s 3.9 percent.

Tech giant Samsung Electronics Co. invested the largest amount in R&D last year with 23.9 trillion won, which was up 14.4 percent on-year and accounted for 32.9 percent of the total investment by South Korean companies.

Leading carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. came next with 3.7 trillion won, which marked 15.6 percent on-year growth. R&D spending by chip behemoth SK hynix Inc. fell 10 percent on-year to 3.6 trillion won.

Home appliances giant LG Electronics Inc. increased its R&D expenditure by 10 percent to 3.3 trillion won, and Samsung Display Co. spent 2.8 trillion won on R&D last year, up 12 percent on-year.

Kia Corp. was the fifth-largest R&D investor last year with 2.2 trillion won, the data showed.

Of the 1,000 companies, 171 were large conglomerates and 491 were second-tier mid-sized companies. The remaining 338 firms were mid- and small-sized companies.

“The number of mid-sized companies that were among the top 1,000 major R&D investing companies has risen over the past years. The government will extend support for companies to increase investment for innovation,” a ministry official said.


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