Samsung Electronics Co. ranked third among global semiconductor chipmakers in terms of investment in research and development (R&D) in 2015. U.S. industry giant Intel Corp. took first place, while U.S.-based Qualcomm Inc. came in second. South Korea's No. 2 player SK hynix Inc. was the world's No. 9 investor.
According to the data compiled by market researcher IC Insights on January 22, Intel was the biggest semiconductor R&D investor last year, followed by Qualcomm, Samsung, Broadcom, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), Micron Technology, Toshiba, MediaTek, SK hynix and STMicroelectronics. Samsung Electronics spent US$3.13 billion (3.75 trillion won) on semiconductor R&D in 2015, up 5 percent from US$2.97 billion (3.56 trillion won) a year earlier.
However, it fell short of Intel and Qualcomm with an investment of US$12.1 billion (14.51 trillion won) and US$3.7 billion (4.44 trillion won). Samsung’s sales-to-R&D ratio came to 7.5 percent last year, while the figure of Intel and Qualcomm reached 24 percent and 23.1 percent, respectively.
TSMC, the world’s largest dedicated independent semiconductor foundry, increased the R&D investment by 10 percent last year, compared with a year ago, maintaining the fifth place. Among the world's top 10 chipmakers, TSMC had the highest increase in the sales-to-R&D ratio on-year. SK hynix spent US$1.42 billion (1.7 trillion won) on the R&D in 2015. It increased 6 percent in investment last year, up three notches to 9th from the 12th spot in 2014.