[THE INVESTOR] Samsung Electronics' automotive division chief on Nov. 21 hinted that the company could use audio solutions of Harman International for its premium Galaxy S phones possibly from 2018.
“It will take time for the acquisition process to be completed, including the planned shareholders’ vote. After that, we could ramp up efforts for business synergies,” said Park Jong-hwan, senior vice president and head of Samsung’s car parts division.
“If we are to adopt Harman’s high-end audio technology for the Galaxy S series phone, the first model could come in 2018.”
(From left) Samsung Electronics President and Chief Strategy Officer Young Sohn, Harman International CEO Dinesh Paliwal and Samsung's automotive division chief and senior vice president Park Jong-hwan pose after a press conference held in Seoul on Nov. 21.
Samsung president reaffirms intention not to build cars
His comments come when the Korean tech giant held a news conference in Seoul on its recent acquisition of the US-based audio giant Harman that is recently betting big on in-car solutions. The US$8 billion deal is the largest-ever purchase by Samsung.
The media event was attended by Harman CEO Dinesh Paliwal and Samsung Chief Strategy Officer Young Sohn who also oversees the company’s semiconductor business in the US.
Samsung executives reiterated that the company has no intention to build cars on its own, saying it is more interested in leading the connected car solution market in an era of the Internet of Things that connects all machines from cars to appliances via the internet.
“I visited many key automotive clients globally, including Hyundai. The reaction was very positive,” the Harman CEO said of possible resistance from carmakers. “They are excited to see our synergy. We made sure that we wanted to become the primary solution provider, tier 1 and we do not want to enter into car-making.”
Paliwal was scheduled to hold a separate meeting with Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong later in the day.
Park, the automotive chief, also made it clear that Harman will not become part of the Korean tech giant’s supply chain system of affiliates, saying the company will remain independent even after acquisition.
Since setting up an automotive components unit in December last year, Samsung has been making a big push on car parts. Despite several mergers in recent months, the company has yet to secure a firm footing as it struggles to build partnerships with carmakers.
The latest deal with the top-tier infotainment systems supplier to numerous carmakers, including Mercedes-Benz, General Motors and Hyundai Motor, is expected to drastically reduce the time for Samsung to become a potent player in the car industry.
By Lee Ji-yoon and Shin Ji-hye