SEOUL, May 13 (UPI) -- Electronics giant Samsung announced it would invest $21 billion in clean energy over the next decade.
The move is aimed at repositioning Samsung for changing global markets, the company said.
"Governments around the world are investing in green industries to address the issues of depleting energy resources," said Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee Tuesday in an announcement. "We must move ahead decisively to take this opportunity while other global companies hesitate."
Lee's announcement comes after his return in March to the helm of Samsung, South Korea's biggest conglomerate, following his conviction in 2008 for tax evasion, for which he received a presidential pardon.
As part of the $21 billion investment, Samsung plans to develop five new businesses, focusing on solar cells, rechargeable batteries for hybrid cars, and energy-saving light emitting diode technology. It will also include an expansion into healthcare.
"Environment, energy and healthcare will be the top industries for the next 10 years," said Rhee In-yong, a senior vice president for Samsung corporate communications, in a statement.
Samsung said it expects the new businesses to generate $44 billion in overall sales and create 45,000 jobs over the next decade.
"The company's investment is one of the most substantial moves by a large technology company," Clint Wheelock, managing director of Pike Research, told The Guardian newspaper. "It is certain to be a harbinger of continuing clean tech focus by its peers and competitors on the world stage."
The "government and the country's technology companies are making a strong coordinated push to make South Korea a global hub" for clean technology, Wheelock said.
South Korea, Asia's fourth largest polluter, announced last November its target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 4 percent by 2020 from the 2005 level.
Tuesday's announcement is the latest in the company's recent focus on the green sector.
Samsung had announced last July that it would halve its greenhouse gas emissions during the 2008-13 period and that it would invest $4.3 billion into developing eco-friendly products and energy-saving technologies.
In January, Samsung signed a $7 billion deal with the government of Ontario to build 2,500 megawatts of wind and solar power. The agreement also called for Samsung to establish a base of operations to manufacture wind and solar equipment to export clean electricity to North America.
And in February The New York Times reported that Samsung would participate in the development of 130 megawatts of photovoltaic solar power in California.