Large companies in South Korea have invested more than 1 trillion won (US$890 million) in startups engaging in the so-called fourth industrial revolution over the past three years, a corporate tracker said on Nov. 21, 2018.
A total of 53 large firms invested a combined 1.06 trillion won in 210 venture companies engaging in artificial intelligence (AI), big data and the Internet of Things (IoT) between 2015 and the third quarter of this year, according to CEO Score, which tracks corporate management.
The amount covers only equity investments, excluding mergers and acquisitions (M&As) and investments by their overseas subsidiaries. It is based on a survey of 245 big businesses out of South Korea's top 500 firms by sales.
Naver Corp., South Korea's top portal operator, bought into the largest number of startups at 51 during the period, followed by leading automaker Hyundai Motor Co. with 20, No. 1 mobile carrier SK Telecom Co. with 13 and SK Corp. with 10.
By amount, SK Corp., the holding company of South Korea's third-largest conglomerate, SK Group, was the biggest investor with 241.9 billion won, outpacing Naver's 108.8 billion won.
Samsung Electronics Co., South Korea's largest firm by sales and market cap, invested a mere 31.7 billion won in nine venture companies during the cited period.
Samsung's small investment was attributed to its focus on investing in promising foreign startups through its Silicon Valley units or M&As.
Southeast Asian ride-hailing firm Grab Inc. was the biggest receiver of large firms' investment. Hyundai Motor and SK Corp. have invested a combined 108.8 billion won.
Early this month, Hyundai Motor and its affiliate Kia Motors Corp. said they will invest 284 billion won to buy stakes in Grab as they move to expand their market presence. (Yonhap)