Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s largest smartphone and memory chip maker, has unveiled its bold vision to transform into a “data company” that engages in industries beyond hardware manufacturing and software development in preparation for the fourth industrial revolution.
The South Korean tech giant sees data as “new oil” that would become the next driving force behind the upcoming industry revolution, substituting oil that had led the industrial revolution in the 20th century, the company executive said.
“Samsung is now a data company,” Sohn Young-kwon, president and chief strategy officer at Samsung Electronics, declared at a CEO Summit in San Francisco on Wednesday, local time. “(Samsung) can amass data through Galaxy smartphones, and our chips transfer and store data - 70 percent of world’s data is produced and saved using Samsung products.”
Sohn said that Samsung will create a wave of future innovation with data, adding that supply of DRAM (dynamic random-access memory) chips has not been able to meet the burgeoning demand driven by the recent rapid growth in data accumulation. “This presents a big opportunity for Samsung,” the executive said.
Sohn noted that petrochemical and financial companies such as ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, China Petroleum, GP, and BP filled the list of global top 10 moguls by market capitalization 10 years ago, but data-creating and managing companies such as Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Alibaba, and Tencent have fast replaced them in recent years.
In fact, the companies that Samsung has recently acquired are mostly those that engage in the data industry. The Korean tech giant acquired Harman International Industries for $8 billion last year, Internet of Things (IoT) company SmartThings in 2012, mobile payment service LoopPay in 2015, and artificial intelligence and assistant system Viv, which all have the core technology to create and analyze large-scale data in respective fields.
Based on the vision of becoming a “data company,” Samsung Electronics is expected to promote investment and acquisitions focusing on data business starting next year.
At the CEO Summit, Samsung Electronics also disclosed the name of the 60 companies in which it has invested over the last two to three years through its three internal corporate venture capitals - Samsung Catalyst Fund, Samsung NEXT, and Samsung Ventures. The main areas that these companies deal with are smart machine, digital health, IoT and data infrastructure.
About 400 guests attended the CEO Summit in San Francisco, including 150 venture capitalists from Silicon Valley, 50 chief executives of Samsung-invested companies, chief executives of startups from the artificial intelligence sector, and executives from Samsung and other large companies.
By Sohn Jae-gwon
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