Samsung’s New $300 Million Fund Bets on Automotive Innovation – Timothy W. Martin Sept. 14, 2017 5:01 a.m. ET


The world’s largest smartphone maker signals desire to diversify beyond traditional electronics

Samsung has identified the automotive sector as a critical area for growth.

Samsung has identified the automotive sector as a critical area for growth. Photo: kim hong-ji/Reuters

By

Timothy W. Martin

SEOUL— Samsung Electronics Co. has created a $300 million fund targeting new investments for automotive software and technology, the latest sign of the world’s largest smartphone maker’s desire to diversify beyond traditional electronics.

Samsung said Thursday that it had secured the first investment from the automotive-innovation fund, spending €75 million ($89 million) to create a strategic partnership with TTTech, a company that specializes in safeguarding the real-time computer systems used in connected cars. Audi AG NSU -0.12% is also a major investor in the Austria-based TTTech.

The South Korean technology giant has identified the automotive sector as a critical area for growth, as cars are increasingly outfitted with multimedia platforms and high-tech software—a potential windfall for Samsung’s displays and semiconductor businesses.

Samsung has been accelerating investments and other efforts into the automotive space over the past year, following last year’s announcement of an $8 billion deal to buy U.S. auto-parts supplier Harman International Industries Inc. Since then, Samsung has won regulatory approval in South Korea and California to test cars using its self-driving technology on public roads.

Like many of its Silicon Valley peers, Samsung doesn’t plan to manufacture its own vehicles but sees vast potential to create autonomous-driving software it could one day sell to traditional car makers. Samsung’s tests in South Korea install its deep-learning algorithms and other software onto a vehicle made by Hyundai Motor Co.

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Samsung, Apple Intensify Battle for Smartphone Users -By  Timothy W. Martin and  Tripp Mickle March 31, 2017 5:30 a.m. ET


Owners of Apple and Android phones rarely switch brands—but this year offers a rare chance for industry leaders to win (or lose) fans

D.J. Koh, Samsung's mobile chief, shows the Galaxy S8 and S8+ smartphones on Wednesday in New York.

D.J. Koh, Samsung’s mobile chief, shows the Galaxy S8 and S8+ smartphones on Wednesday in New York. Photo: Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

It’s shaping up to be a big year in the smartphone wars.

Samsung Electronics Co.  fired the first shot this week with the unveiling of its newest flagship phone, the Galaxy S8, which won strong initial reviews. That comes about six months ahead of Apple Inc.’s launch of a 10th-anniversary model of its iPhone, which analysts expect to be its most innovative handset in years.

The new devices are coming as the industry’s boom times have faded. Brands in recent years have struggled to develop impressive new features, and consumers are holding on to their devices longer. Global sales growth has fizzled and most phone buyers stick with the brands they know, meaning Apple, Samsung and others generally have been competing over a relatively small share of consumers whose loyalties are up for grabs.

“There are fewer new customers and you’re having to fight to get your customers to upgrade,” said Jan Dawson, an independent technology analyst with Jackdaw Research.

But in 2017, several factors are creating a rare chance to siphon away—or lose—consumers.

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Samsung to Buy U.S. Auto-Parts Supplier Harman for $8 Billion – By  Jonathan Cheng Updated Nov. 14, 2016 2:45 a.m. ET


Deal will be South Korean smartphone maker’s biggest acquisition

A Harman concept car at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, in February. The company has in recent years pushed aggressively into the automotive world under Chief Executive Dinesh Paliwal.

A Harman concept car at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, in February. The company has in recent years pushed aggressively into the automotive world under Chief Executive Dinesh Paliwal. Photo: Bloomberg News

Samsung Electronics Co. is making a drive for control of the car.

The South Korean smartphone maker said Monday that it would buy U.S. auto-parts supplier Harman International Industries Inc., based in Stamford, Conn., for $8 billion in an all-cash deal that instantly makes Samsung a major player in the world of automotive technology.

The deal—Samsung’s biggest acquisition in its history—reshapes the pecking order in the global automotive supply chain, reflecting a quickening pace of innovation and an increased role for companies with deep pockets and a keen understanding of mobile services.

Harman, an audio pioneer that dates back to 1953, has in recent years pushed aggressively into the automotive world under Chief Executive Dinesh Paliwal, and has secured billions in new business, including big contracts with General MotorsCo. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV. It has projected an order backlog of $24 billion, more than three times annual revenue, and about two-thirds of its current sales come from auto makers.

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Samsung to Permanently Discontinue Galaxy Note 7 Smartphone – WSJ


Samsung said it would permanently discontinue production and sales of its embattled Galaxy Note 7 smartphone. Potential losses to Samsung could wipe out the mobile division’s operating profits for the fourth quarter, according to one estimate.

Source: Samsung to Permanently Discontinue Galaxy Note 7 Smartphone – WSJ

Foxconn to acquire Japan’s Sharp, strengthening its hand with Apple – TOKYO | BY MAKIKO YAMAZAKI AND TARO FUSE


The logo of Sharp Corp is seen at Tochigi plant in Yaita, north of Tokyo, November 19, 2015. REUTERS/Reiji Murai

The logo of Sharp Corp is seen at Tochigi plant in Yaita, north of Tokyo, November 19, 2015. REUTERS/REIJI MURAI

Taiwan’s Foxconn will acquire two-thirds of ailing electronics maker Sharp, marking the largest acquisition of a Japanese tech firm by a foreign company and bolstering its position as Apple Inc’s (AAPL.O) biggest supplier.

Sharp said it would issue around $4.4 billion worth of new shares to Foxconn, known formally as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (2317.TW). Foxconn’s total investment is set to be more than 650 billion yen ($5.8 billion) in the loss-making liquid crystal display maker, a source familiar with the matter said.

Sharp’s stock tumbled 14 percent as the share dilution looked larger than expected, with traders noting that the deal included the issuance of a class of shares that would be convertible next year.

The agreement, which signals an opening up of Japan’s insular technology sector to foreign investment, will see Sharp start mass-producing organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screens by 2018, around the time Apple is expected to adopt the next-generation displays for its iPhones.

Thursday’s decision comes after five years of courting by Foxconn founder Terry Gou, who sees ownership of Sharp as a way to better compete with Asian rivals such as Samsung Electronics Co (005930.KS).

“Sharp has the technology to build out the components to compete with Samsung as an Apple supplier, which means that with Sharp under its umbrella Foxconn can help Apple wean itself off Samsung,” said Gavin Parry, managing director of Parry International Trading, a brokerage in Hong Kong.

“This gives Foxconn better pricing power with Apple,” he added.

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