This photo taken Feb. 16, 2021, shows the corporate flag of Samsung Group at its office building in Seoul. (Yonhap)
Samsung Electronics Co.'s research and development (R&D) spending last year hit a record high, its report showed Wednesday, amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Samsung invested 21.2 trillion won ($18.6 billion) in R&D last year, up 1 trillion won from a year earlier, to mark its largest spending ever, according to its 2020 business report.
Samsung's R&D investment was equivalent to 9 percent of its sales, up from 7.7 percent in 2018 and 8.8 percent in 2019.
The South Korean tech giant said its capital expenditures last year reached 38.5 trillion won, up 11.6 trillion won from a year ago and the largest since 2017, when it spent 43.4 trillion won.
Samsung's capital expenditures on semiconductors totaled 32.9 trillion won followed by displays at 3.9 trillion won.
The report showed that Samsung's five major customers last year were Apple, Best Buy, Deutsche Telekom, Tektronix Hong Kong and Verizon. They accounted for 14 percent of the company's total sales.
Huawei had been one of Samsung's top five customers, but the Chinese tech firm apparently dropped off the list following US sanctions last year.
The number of Samsung employees in South Korea grew to a record high of 109,490 in 2020, up 4,233 from a year earlier.
The annual salary of Samsung's top executives more than doubled last year after the company reported nearly 36 trillion won in operating profit, up 29.6 percent from a year ago.
Kwon Oh-hyun, a senior adviser and former CEO of the company, was the highest paid Samsung executive last year after receiving 17.2 billion won, which includes his retirement pay of 9.2 billion won.
Among current executive directors, Kim Ki-nam, a Samsung vice chairman who leads the company's semiconductor business, received the largest salary at 8.27 billion won, up from 3.45 billion won in 2019. (Yonhap)