Samsung Group announced today it would invest $41.4 billion in new technologies, more than the company has ever invested in previous years.
The investments will encompass efforts in research and development, mergers and acquisitions, and building new facilities, Samsung reps told reporters. The company also said it will be hiring as many as 26,000 new employees in 2012.
Industry experts expect a good chunk of that change will be spent on logic chips and OLED displays.
Last year, Samsung invested in multicore processor company Tilera and OLED firm Novaled.
Samsung also put some money toward investments in newer mobile technologies. For example, the company invested in Swype, the virtual keyboard startup, and MoBeam, a company concentrating on the use of consumer mobile technologies in retail spaces.
So where will Samsung’s 2012 investments fall? A talk the company gave last year shows its continuing focus on mobile technologies. In particular, the company’s executives think that Internet-connected phones will outnumber Internet-connected personal computers ten to one.
The high usage of the mobile Internet, a Samsung exec said at the time, is driving innovation in cloud computing, which is driving innovation in energy efficiency, which is driving innovation in processing power.
So each time Samsung moves to a new generation of chips, it can make those chips 50 percent smaller, 30 percent faster and 10 percent more energy efficient. Last year, the company was able to transition from making chips with circuits 32 nanometers apart to 20-nanometer manufacturing. Next year, Samsung wants to achieve 14-nanometer manufacturing.
However, making those highly powerful, highly efficient chips is so expensive that only cash-rich powerhouses like Samsung can continue to invest in R&D in those areas and build new facilities for manufacturing those kinds of technologies.
Samsung is the primary chip manufacturer for Apple’s popular iPhones, and the company is also a leading manufacturer of big-screen, high-powered Android devices — most importantly, its Galaxy line of smartphones and tablets.