Semiconductor R&D spending has increased 7% to $53bn in 2012, despite weak a semiconductor market. The semiconductor market fell 1% to $317.6bn last year.
According to a new report by IC inslights, the rise in R&D spending by chip manufacturing firms made up 16.7% of all semiconductor sales during the year.
This has been the highest level since its growth of 17.5% in 2009 and 2010.
The report also reveals that the rise in R&D spending as a percentage of total semiconductor sales was mainly due to an increase in costs related to the development of complex IC designs and next-generation process technologies for manufacturing circuits.
During the period, Samsung’s R&D-to-sales ratio declined from 25% in 2001 to 8% in 2010 and has been falling since. However, Intel’s investment in R&D rose to 20% of sales, representing seven times more than Qualcomm.
Samsung has been focusing its investments on adding new fab capacity for large-diameter wafers, which currently manufactures 300mm.
The study also revealed that Intel has invested about one-third of the combined $28.7bn spent by the top-10 R&D investors in 2012.