The combined investments totaled 54.33 trillion won ($46.3 billion) as of the end of September, down 16.6 percent from 65.17 trillion won a year earlier, CEO Score said in a statement.
The tally covered the 272 conglomerate subsidiaries that have unveiled their half-year business reports. Out of the top 30 Korean business groups, Booyoung Group did not submit its business report.
The decrease was mostly attributed to tech giants such as Samsung Electronics, SK hynix and LG Display, whose investments shrank by 5.33 trillion won, 3.29 trillion won and 2.52 trillion won -- down 29.1 percent, 30.1 percent and 52.4 percent on-year, respectively.
These three top tech firms reduced their investment by 11.14 trillion won, nearly 300 billion won more than the top 30 conglomerates’ curtailment total.
Other conglomerates such as Lotte, Hyundai Heavy Industries and CJ also cut back on their investments. Their corresponding figures went by 7.8 percent, 33.3 percent and 3.7 percent during the same period.
Meanwhile, major telecom operator KT showed the biggest increase in investment during the period, among the companies surveyed. The commercialization of 5G communication enabled boost investment, up 644 billion won or 36.2 percent from a year earlier.
It was followed by GS, Hanwha and Posco with 378 billion won, 239 billion won and 233 billion won, respectively.
By Jie Ye-eun (email@example.com)