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Samsung establishes automotive division

The South Korea enterprise has announced to re-organize its business divisions and to add an automotive components team. The company plans to produce automotive semiconductors.

The smartphone market leader joins the automotive electronics business; the enterprise already manufactures its own microprocessors (Photo: Samsung)

THE NEW DIVISION WILL INITIALLY FOCUS on building its competencies in autonomous driving and infotainment. In both application fields, CAN communication is usual. It is not clear, if the smart phone and consumer electronics company will develop its own vehicles as IT giant Google has done. The Korean enterprise looks to new businesses, because the mobile electronics is not more growing that fast. This is a “pre-emptively respond to business uncertainties”, in order to “target and pursue new business initiatives to prepare for future growth”. The automotive components division is headed by Jonghwan Park and is overseen by Oh-Hyun Kwon, Samsung’s vice chairman & CEO.

The increasing automotive electronics market is not just interesting for Samsung. General Motors has announced end of last year a strategic cooperation with LG Electronics (South Korea). On the other hand, the number of automotive chip suppliers is decreasing. Last year, NXP bought Freescale, Infineon integrated International Rectifier successfully, and Cypress joint forces with Spansion. One of the reasons is that semiconductors for autonomous driving require a huge investment. Some carmakers, such as Hyundai, regard this as competition-relevant and consider developing their own micro-controllers and sensors.

Samsung Electronics is one of a few of the world-leading chipmakers without a significant automotive electronics portfolio. In particular, the fast growing market for infotainment is something what the Korean company does not like to miss. The automotive semiconductors market is expected to reach 34,5 billion US dollars in 2015. According to market researchers by IHS, Renesas is the market leader followed by NXP/Freescale and Infineon.

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