Samsung CEOs to pitch to carmakers

Samsung CEOs to pitch to carmakers

Samsung Electronics, which has recently renewed its push for automotive parts especially for self-driving cars, plans to appeal to global carmakers at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show, or CES, in Las Vegas next month.

The Korean tech giant announced last week it would set up a new team dedicated to car parts for futuristic vehicles like driverless cars. Even though Samsung has long produced batteries and chips for cars, it is the first time that it is entering the car business again with such intensity since it sold Samsung Motor to Renault in the late 1990s.

According to industry sources on Tuesday, top executives will support the latest push at the world’s largest electronics trade show where tech firms have increasingly showed off their latest automotive technologies in an era of electric mobility.

Of the three co-CEOs, Yoon Boo-keun and Shin Jong-kyun who oversee home appliance and mobile divisions, respectively, are scheduled to attend the event even though they handed over daily operations to their younger successors in last week’s executive reshuffle.

While another co-CEO Kwon Oh-hyun, the chip division chief who will control the company’s new car parts team, is unlikely to join the event, the team leader and senior vice president Park Jong-hwan will seek ties with global carmakers.

CEOs of other key affiliates such as Samsung Display, Samsung SDI and Samsung Electro-Mechanics are also expected to attend the annual event.

“Cars are expected to take the center stage at this year’s CES. Samsung executives would not like to miss the crucial opportunity to appeal to carmakers,” said an industry source, declining to be named.

Keen attention is being paid to vice chairman Lee Jae-yong’s attendance. He has skipped the show over the past two years as he has served the role of Samsung Group’s de facto leader since his father, chairman Lee Kun-hee was hospitalized last year.

A Samsung official declined to confirm junior Lee’s schedule.

With the long absence of tech giants such as Apple and Google -– who hold their separate launching events — Samsung is one of the biggest exhibitors at CES that kicks off Jan. 6 and continues through Jan. 9.

Carmakers have also increased their presence. This year their combined exhibition space would reach the largest-ever 18,581 square meters, up 20 percent from last year.

A total of nine carmakers, including Audi, BMW, GM and Hyundai Motor, will participate in the show. Of this year’s seven keynote speakers, two are automotive CEOs — Volkswagen’s Herber Diess and General Motors’ Mary Barra.

LG Electronics, which has poured resources into the car parts business for almost a decade, will use CES as an opportunity to further extend its ties with carmakers. The company is a leading player especially in telematics that combines wireless telecommunications and global positioning systems technologies.


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