SEOUL - LG Group, South Korea's fourth biggest business conglomerate, plans to raise its investment to a record 20 trillion won ($18.8 billion) this year, it said on Sunday, in a bid to take on rivals like Samsung Electronics Co Ltd.

The group of some 40 subsidiaries, including technology giant LG Electronics Inc, flat panel heavyweight LG Display Co Ltd, mobile service provider LG Uplus Corp, chemicals firm LG Chem Ltd and holding company LG Corp, will spend 14 trillion won on its factories, while 6 trillion won will go into research and development.

The total represents a 19.1 percent increase from its 2012 spending of 16.8 trillion won, LG Group said in a statement.

LG will spend 13.4 trillion won of the factory investment on its electronics business, mainly to build ultra-high resolution liquid crystal display (LCD) and organic light emitting diodes (OLED) display plants, and more advanced smartphone and TV production lines.

The rest of the planned facility investment will go to its chemicals and telecommunications service sectors.

A large part of the R&D spending will be used on advanced technologies, including smartphone software, high-definition and smart TV products, and next-generation flexible and transparent displays.

The group, which employed 125,000 workers domestically at the end of 2012, also plans to recruit more than 15,000 employees this year, it said.

($1=1064.0000 Korean won)