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Asia300

Samsung plans big investment as pressure grows to hire more

Announcement on chip or display investment expected as soon as early August

Samsung has been working to curry favor with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who has been harsh on the country's family-run conglomerates   © Reuters

SEOUL -- Samsung Electronics is preparing to announce a major investment in its home market of South Korea, in what is expected to be in the field of chip memories or high-performance displays for televisions and smartphones.

The move comes as the conglomerate is under criticism from the public for not increasing hiring despite robust earnings. The job-creating investment would help improve relations with the administration of President Moon Jae-in, whose policy for "income-led growth" has fallen short of hoped-for results.

Samsung's Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong is reportedly planning to invite Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kim Dong-Yeon to a company hub as early as August in order to reveal the plans in person. 

While cracks are appearing in Samsung's smartphone business, overall operating profit remains high. The conglomerate appears intent on softening ire from the public, which frowns on companies that fail to increase hiring despite healthy earnings. 

In July, Moon met with Lee on a visit to India and asked the executive for his cooperation in creating jobs at home.

Rival chipmaker SK Hynix has said it will invest 3.5 trillion won ($3.13 billion) in chip fabrication facilities on the outskirts of Seoul. Samsung's investment is expected to top that figure, but there are concerns that it could overextend itself by focusing too much on scoring political points.

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