Samsung Electronics appointed Kim Ki-nam, Kim Hyun-suk, and Ko Dong-jin as the heads of its Device Solutions (DS), Consumer Electronics (CE), and IT & Mobile Communications (IM) Divisions.
The new CEOs, however, face many daunting tasks and challenges ahead, which would require competition as well as cooperation between them amid the absence of top management owing to imprisonment of vice chairman Lee Jae-yong.
President Kim Ki-nam’s tasks include finding new growth drivers in the non-memory sector with the current boom of the global semiconductor industry predicted to continue until the first half of next year. In this regard, he needs to put the foundry business of Samsung Electronics on the right track. At present, Samsung Electronics is the fourth- or fifth-largest in the global foundry market although it is the largest company in the global memory chip market. In the global semiconductor market, which is estimated to have a size of 400 trillion won a year, non-memory semiconductor has a ratio of approximately 80%.
President Kim Hyun-suk, in the meantime, recently said that his division will focus more on premium TV products in step with the trend of the market. He also needs to set up a perfect smart home solution by combining a variety of home appliances such as washing machines and refrigerators with the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI). Furthermore, the division should increase its presence in the B2B market by supplying better built-in electronics. Samsung QLED TVs, released in the first half of this year, have yet to take their place in the premium TV market, too.
The IM Division led by President Ko Dong-jin is in the face of fierce competition as well. The division’s quarterly operating profit used to amount to six trillion won or so but it stood at 3.29 trillion won in the third quarter of this year. Experts say it needs to diversify its business right away with Chinese manufacturers such as Huawei threatening its dominance in the market and Apple solidifying its leading position.
The division is concentrating on the advancement and expansion of its AI assistant Bixby in this regard. Samsung Electronics is aiming to combine smartphones, consumer electronics and autonomous cars in a single ecosystem via the AI assistant, but it still has a far way to go. “The development of the ecosystem is in its early stage now and third-party developers have just begun to work with Samsung,” said an industry insider, adding, “What is required now is aggressive M&A and more partnerships.”