Samsung Electronics, one of the world?s biggest technology manufacturers, on Thursday said it aimed to double its annual revenue by 2010 through aggressive research spending and technological innovation.

The ambitious target comes as the South Korean company struggles with falling prices for memory chips and lower margins from flat-panel displays and mobile phones amid intense competition.

Yun Jong-yong, vice-chairman, said Samsung would become ?one of the top three electronics companies in the world in quantity and in quality by 2010, by increasing the number of our leading market share products from the current eight to more than 20 products, and also by more than doubling our 2004 sales?.

Samsung is the world?s largest memory chip and flat screen maker. It has nearly doubled its revenue to US$78bn in 2004 from US$40bn in 2000, driven by surging demand for digital consumer products.

?The rapid revenue growth in the past 10 years was possible because we focused our research spending on growth areas faster than our competitors with the industry going digital,? said Lee Yoon-woo, chief technology officer.

The company said it would continue to lead the digital convergence revolution through product innovation. Samsung expects its semiconductor division to generate sales of US$61bn by 2012 and its liquid crystal display business to bring $20bn of revenue by 2010. It is also targeting $30bn of sales from its digital media business by 2008.

Samsung has forecast that total profits will fall by as much as 20 per cent in 2005.

?Earnings are expected to hit the bottom this year but gradually recover next year as the memory chip market grows and margins in the handset and LCD businesses improve,? said Yang Jun-won at Macquarie-IMM Asset Management.

Hwang Chang-gyu, president of Samsung?s semiconductor business, forecast that D-ram prices would stabilise in the second half of next year, following a 30 per cent slide this year. Demand for flash memory chips is expected to increase sharply next year because the chips are used in various digital products, including MP3 players.

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