Samsung Electronics and SK hynix have significantly increased their research and development (R&D) and facility investments in the first quarter of this year. Samsung Electronics reported its highest first-quarter R&D investment ever.

According to the quarterly report disclosed by Samsung Electronics on May 16, the company invested 7.8201 trillion won (US$5.7687 billion) in R&D costs during the first quarter of this year. This represents an increase of nearly 19% compared to the first quarter of the previous year, which was 6.5790 trillion won. This is the largest scale for a first quarter to date. The proportion of sales devoted to R&D expenses was 10.9%.

During the first quarter of last year, when the semiconductor industry was at its worst, Samsung Electronics increased its R&D investment by more than 10%. However, as the industry conditions have begun to improve this year, the company expanded its investments even further. Among the key R&D achievements for Samsung Electronics in the first quarter are the development of the industry’s first 36GB HBM3E 12H DRAM, the unveiling of the latest Exynos 1480 mobile AP, and the launch of an ultra-high-definition and slim 8K TV based on mini-LED technology.

Samsung Electronics reported that its facility investments for the first quarter amounted to 11.3087 trillion won, an increase of about 5% from a year ago. The company stated that these investments were primarily focused on the expansion and conversion of advanced processes and infrastructure investments within Samsung Electronics’ DS division and Samsung Display.

SK hynix’s facility investments in the first quarter were 2.9430 trillion won, an increase of approximately 68% compared to the same period last year, which was 1.7480 trillion won. R&D expenses were 1.1090 trillion won, a modest increase of about 2% from the previous year. SK hynix reported achievements such as the development of HBM3E and high-performance SSDs for on-device artificial intelligence (AI) PCs.