"It's time to communicate our intent to enter the autonomous driving market," Young Sohn, the company's president and chief strategy officer, told Reuters. Harman, best known for its consumer audio speakers, derives 65 percent of sales from its automotive business, supplying navigation services, on-board entertainment systems and vehicle networks that put it at the intersection of connected cars and mobile networks. In recent months, Samsung has secured licenses for autonomous driving pilot projects in South Korea and California. Over the next two to three years, the new Samsung Automotive Innovation Fund will invest in a range of connected car areas including sensors, machine vision, artificial intelligence, high-performance computing, cloud services, mobile connectivity, automotive-grade safety and security, the company said.
The Suwon, South Korea-based company will announce the move next week as part of its annual year-end personnel reshuffling, the people said. The decision isn't final, and plans for Samsung's annual shake-ups have been reversed before. "No decision has been made regarding personnel changes," a Samsung spokesman said. Samsung is the world's largest maker of smartphones and semiconductors. It has a target of securing a 20% market share of 5G equipment by 2020, believing its experience making handsets, network equipment and semiconductors could give it a unique edge.
The Samsung conglomerate said it will invest more than $22 billion over the next three years to target such areas as artificial intelligence and auto-technology components, as it seeks out growth drivers beyond phones and memory chips. The bulk of the spending will be earmarked for Samsung Electronics Co., the conglomerate's crown jewel. The company is the world's No. 1 maker of smartphones, semiconductors and televisions and last year put more toward capital expenditures than any other publicly traded company, Samsung said it would invest heavily in four key areas through 2020. Auto tech, artificial intelligence and new fifth-generation, or 5G, cellular technology--all of which that fall under Samsung's umbrella--will draw funding, as will its nascent drug companies specializing in contract manufacturing and biosimilar medications. It didn't provide a specific breakdown of the new investments, but the spending represents Samsung's broadest investment in new business pursuits since 2010.
A man walks at the Samsung Electronics' headquarters in Seoul January 7, 2015. Samsung wants to use some of its US 61 billion (RM246 billion) in cash and equivalents to help it morph into more of a software-driven company, executive vice president Rhee In Jong said in an interview. The South Korean consumer-electronics giant also is spending more to develop its own services because the global market for gadgets is saturated and can't be counted on for significant revenue growth, he said. "We are actively looking for M&A targets of all sorts in the software area," said Rhee, who runs the mobile division's research-and-development business. "We are open to all possibilities, including artificial intelligence.
A Samsung logo is displayed in a mall beneath the company's headquarters in the Gangnam district of Seoul on October 12, 2016. SAN FRANCISCO -- In its short, troubled history, Galaxy Note 7 was the victim of a recurring overheating problem that Samsung couldn't tamp down. But that might be easy compared to what comes next. The Samsung brand, once considered a gold standard in the tech industry, has been tarnished. Its stock price has been battered, shaving tens of billions of dollars from its market value.