SEOUL, Jan. 20 (Yonhap) — Samsung Electronics Co. was the industry’s second-largest spender on semiconductor research and development (R&D) last year, a report showed Wednesday, as the South Korean tech giant tries to beef up its presence in the non-memory sector.
Samsung, the world’s top memory chipmaker, spent US$5.6 billion on chip-related R&D in 2020, up 19 percent from a year earlier, according to the McClean Report released by industry tracker IC Insights.
Samsung’s sharp increase in chip R&D spending was partly attributed to its plan to expand its presence in the non-memory business.
In 2019, Samsung unveiled a plan to become the world’s No. 1 logic chipmaker by 2030 by investing 133 trillion won (US$120 billion) to bolster its competitiveness in the system chip and foundry businesses.
“The South Korean memory giant stepped up development of leading-edge logic processes (of 5nm and below) to compete in the advanced IC foundry business with market leader Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC),” IC Insights said.
Samsung was only behind Intel Corp., which spent an estimated $12.9 billion to account for 19 percent of the industry’s total spending last year.
The U.S. chip titan’s R&D expenditure in 2020 was down 4 percent from a year earlier, which was its largest decline since the mid 1990s, according to IC Insights.
The report showed the R&D spending of the top 10 semiconductor companies increased 11 percent on-year to $43.5 billion in 2020, making up 64 percent of the total. The top 10 firms’ R&D-to-sales ratio was 14.5 percent last year, down 0.5 percentage point from a year ago.
U.S.-based Advanced Micro Devices Inc. was the new entrant to the top 10 list at 10th place, sitting behind South Korea’s SK hynix Inc.
IC Insights said R&D spending by global chip firms is forecast to grow 4 percent on-year to reach $71.4 billion this year, after rising 5 percent in 2020 to a record high of $68.4 billion.