Samsung to spend $A30 billion on AI

"Samsung aims to become a leader in electronics components for future cars such as system-on-chips for autonomous driving, utilizing its leadership in semiconductors, telecommunications and display technologies".

The investment is also part of a bigger 180 trillion won three-year plan to create jobs and secure fresh revenue streams, providing the first hint of direction for Samsung since group heir Jay Y. Lee was released from jail in February on a suspended sentence following a conviction for bribery.

The company has been hit by a series of scandals in recent years.

Samsung expected to create 40,000 new jobs over the next three years. Samsung has been beefing up its contract drug making operations to help counter a potential decline in its mainstay electronics businesses. Still, the company said its chip business continued to do well.

As part of its three year plan, it will bolster its team of AI researchers to 1,000 across its R&D centres worldwide.

"Today's announcement shows Samsung is serious in its efforts to develop new growth engines" at a time when its semiconductor business and mobile sector are both facing mounting competition from Chinese rivals, Greg Roh of HMC Securities & Investment told AFP.

Lee was freed after almost a year in jail. Most of that investment - about 130 trillion won of the total - will be spent in South Korea, the company said without giving further breakdowns.

Samsung Electronics is now the world's largest smartphone-maker but also boasts a very strong semiconductor business that supplies chips to the companies such as Apple.

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.

Vanessa Coleman

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