The combined R&D expenditures by the top 500 companies by sales stood at 20.9 trillion won ($18.5 billion) in the January-June period, up 7.8 percent from a year earlier, according to CEO Score. The tally covers only 217 companies out of the total, which have disclosed their R&D expenditures and exclude financial institutions.
The surveyed companies posted 782.5 trillion won in combined revenue in the first half, which increased 6.9 percent from the same period a year ago.
Their total R&D spending took up 2.68 percent of sales, up 0.02 percentage point from a year earlier.
Samsung Electronics, the world's largest smartphone and memory chip maker, was the top R&D spender with 7.9 trillion won, followed by LG Electronics Inc. with 2 trillion won and chip giant SK hynix Inc. with 1.2 trillion won.
NCsoft Corp., a South Korean online gamemaker, had the highest ratio of R&D spending to sales at 26 percent, trailed by the country's top Internet portal operator Naver Corp. with 25 percent and major drugmaker Hanmi Pharmaceutical Co. with 17 percent. (Yonhap)