South Korea's Samsung group on Tuesday announced plans to invest 23 trillion won (20.3 billion dollars) by 2020 in new businesses in the environmental and healthcare industries.
The country's largest business group said the five major new areas of investment would be solar cells, rechargeable cells for hybrid electric vehicles, light emitting diode (LED) technologies, biopharmaceuticals and medical devices.
It said in a statement the new businesses are expected to create around 45,000 jobs and generate 50 trillion won in annual revenue for affiliate companies by 2020.
Samsung said the investment plan was agreed during a Council of Presidents' meeting on Monday attended by Samsung Electronics chairman Lee Kun-Hee and heads of group affiliates.
"Governments around the world are now investing in green industries to address the issues of depleting energy resources and the protection of our planet's environment, which present pressing challenges to the global community," Lee was quoted as telling the meeting.
"The mission of any business is to contribute to people's health and quality of life."
The company said key investments include:
* Six trillion won to develop and manufacture solar cells, initially focusing on crystalline silicon technology and later on thin film. This is targeted to generate 10 trillion won in annual revenue and employ 10,000 workers by 2020.
* 5.4 trillion won to be invested in rechargeable cells for hybrid electric vehicles. This is expected to generate 10.2 trillion won in annual revenue and employ 7,600 by 2020.
* Investment of 8.6 trillion won in LED technology for uses including backlit displays, lighting and car electronics. This is expected to create 17.8 trillion won in annual revenues and employ 17,000 people by 2020.
* 2.1 trillion won to be invested in biopharmaceuticals, expected to generate 1.8 trillion won in annual revenue and employ 710 people by 2020.
* 1.2 trillion won to develop and make electronic healthcare equipment, with an initial focus on external diagnostics tools such as blood testing devices. Expected to create revenue of 10 trillion won annually and employ 9,500 people by 2020.
"When other global companies hesitate, we must move ahead decisively to take this opportunity, and this will also benefit the country's economy," Lee was quoted as saying.
Lee, South Korea's richest man, returned in March as chairman of Samsung Electronics -- almost two years after stepping down following a probe into his business dealings.
During his 20 years as chairman, the group's flagship company became the world's largest maker of computer memory chips and second biggest manufacturer of mobile phones.
But Lee expressed uncertainty about the future when he returned in March.
"This is a time of real crisis. Global companies are crumbling. We don't know what will happen to Samsung either," he said at the time.
"Within 10 years, all Samsung products may disappear. Now, we have to start anew."