SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s SK Hynix, the world no.2 memory chip maker, will invest 103 trillion won ($74.6 billion) through 2028 to strengthen its chips business, focusing on AI, its parent SK Group said on Sunday.

SK Group also said it plans to secure 80 trillion won by 2026 to invest in artificial intelligence and semiconductors as well as fund shareholder returns, while streamlining its more than 175 subsidiaries.

The sprawling conglomerate outlined the plans following a two-day strategy meeting, aiming to revive the group after SK Hynix, its main money maker, and the group’s electric vehicle battery arm suffered heavy losses.

SK Group said it sought to improve its competitiveness by focusing on its AI value chain, including high bandwidth memory (HBM) chips, AI data centres and AI services such as personalised AI assistants.

At a time of transition, a “preemptive and fundamental change is necessary,” SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won was quoted as saying in the statement

During the meeting, the executives also agreed to take gradual steps to adjust the number of subsidiaries in the group to a “manageable range”, without specifying the scale of the reduction.

Local media had said SK Innovation, which owns the county’s largest oil refiner and battery maker SK On, was expected to pursue a merger with profitable gas affiliate SK E&S.

The group expects its profit before tax to reach around 22 trillion won this year, turning around from a loss last year, with the goal of hitting 40 trillion won in profit before tax by 2026.

South Korea, home to the world’s top memory chip makers Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix, has fallen behind some rivals in areas such as chip design and contract chip manufacturing.

Earlier this year, the government announced a 26 trillion won ($19 billion) support package for its chip businesses, citing a need to keep up in areas like chip design and contract manufacturing amid ‘all-out warfare’ in the global semiconductor market.

($1 = 1,380.7300 won)

(Reporting by Hyunsu Yim; Editing by Sonali Paul)

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