Samsung is investing KRW5 trillion ($4.5 billion) to build five new research and development centers in South Korea over the next three years, the Korea Times reports (spotted first by Engadget), citing unnamed company officials.

The research centers cover aspects that Samsung is keen to develop further, including design, parts, chips and flat-screens.

Under the plan, Samsung has already spent KRW800 billion ($700.8 million) to build R5, a research institute designed to develop smart devices. Near the R5 building, the company is also constructing a parts-development center focusing on next-generation materials and components that will be employed in upcoming products.

The company will further spend KRW1.2 trillion ($1.05 billion) to build a design research center in the south of the capital city Seoul, which will start operating in June 2015. About 10,000 Samsung designers, software developers and strategists will be housed within this design center.

Samsung is also constructing two other research centers in the Gyeonggi Province of South Korea to develop technology related to chips and flat-screens, which will be operational from 2014. The regional government will be offering financial and administrative packages to help Samsung reduce its financial contribution, the report said.

Samsung has been entangled in patent disputes with other big tech firms including Apple and LG (with Apple scoring a record $1.5 billion victory against Samsung where the jury ruled that nearly every one of Samsung’s devices infringed on Apple patents aside from its tablets), making research and development a key focus for the Korean company. According to the Korea Times report, Samsung’s investment hit a record KRW11.9 trillion ($10.5 billion) in 2012, up from the previous year’s KRW10.3 trillion ($9 billion).

Earlier this year, Samsung revealed plans to open an R&D base in Nokia’s home market of Finland, and also launched a Strategy and Innovation Center in the US, utilizing $1.1 billion to create two new funds.

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