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Samsung Electronics is looking to invest around 700 billion won ($604.5 million) in building a new research center in Korea and to subsequently recruit 10,000 new researchers, government sources said yesterday.

The Korean company, the world's top maker of TVs and the No. 2 handset maker, has set up a taskforce for the construction of the large center, which is expected to cover all of Samsungs seven businesses including semiconductors, displays, TVs and handsets, the officials at Gyeonggi Province said.

Samsung plans to sign a memorandum of understanding with Gyeonggi Province on Monday to add a new research center in its complex in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, they said. Samsung CEO Choi Gee-sung and Gyeonggi Province Governor Kim Moon-soo plan to attend the ceremony, which is scheduled to take place at the Suwon complex which represents Samsung's headquarters, they said.

An official told The Korea Herald of Samsung's plans to spend an estimated 700 billion won on the new research center and employ 10,000 new researchers after the building is completed in 2013.

"Samsung's existing research centers have already exceeded their capacity, and a new one needs to be constructed," another official told The Korea Herald.

The envisioned 25-floor building is expected to be the biggest research building in Korea, with the floor space of 297,000 square meters.

There are two research centers at Samsung's Suwon complex - the 36-floor Digital Research Center and the 25-floor Information & Communications Research Center.

A Samsung spokesperson confirmed that the company plans to set up a big research center in its Suwon complex and to sign a memorandum of understanding with Gyeonggi Province, but said that the size of its investments and recruitment is not finalized.

"We are in negotiations with Gyeonggi Province," the spokesperson said.

She said the envisioned research center could accommodate 10,000 people, including some researchers who are scattered at other buildings because of lack of space.

Samsung's move is seen to boost its research prowess as the company aims to quadruple its sales to $400 billion and become one of the world's top 10 companies by 2020.

The company seeks to expand its influence beyond TVs and handsets, memory chips and displays and to boost its sales of cameras, laptops, printers and home appliances, as well as system LSI and networks. Samsung also sees "health, environment and life care," along with "infotainment" as its new growth drivers.

Samsung last year overtook HP as the world's biggest technology company in terms of revenue by achieving annual sales of 136.29 trillion won ($117.7 billion).


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