South Korea’s large business groups increased their investments by nearly five per cent in the first half of 2021, according to data by a local market researcher on August 20.

Including the country’s biggest tech giant Samsung Electronics, the top 332 Korean companies invested a combined 82.8 trillion won ($70 billion) in the January-June period, up 4.6 per cent from a year earlier, showed figures released by CEO Score.

The investment amount surged 12.6 per cent in the first half of 2019 before the world was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, the market tracker noted.

The growth in investments was mainly driven by Samsung and SK hynix in the semiconductor industry. The two chipmakers’ investments accounted for nearly 40 per cent of the total capital spending by the big companies.

Samsung’s investment soared 26.7 per cent year-on-year to 25.1 trillion won in the six-month period, which accounted for nearly 30 per cent of the total.

On expanding its chip facilities, Samsung spent a total of 20.9 trillion won.

SK hynix’s investment reached 7.5 trillion won in the first half, up 40.5 per cent from a year earlier.

Companies in distribution, pharmaceuticals and nine other industrial sectors also increased their investments in the first half from a year earlier.

But petrochemical, auto and state-run companies cut back on their investments.

LG Chem saw its first-half investment tumble 18.1 per cent year-on-year to 2.6 trillion won, while Hyundai Motor curtailed its investment by 13.6 per cent to 2.5 trillion won.