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Leading Global Innovation, Stateside


Young Sohn panel address 1776 event

The United States is incredibly important to the business of Samsung Electronics. In addition to serving as one of our largest and most dynamic consumer markets, it is also home to some of the world’s most forward-thinking and innovative minds.

Today, Samsung not only considers engaging with American innovators of paramount importance, but we also consider American innovation to be part of our DNA. For nearly forty years, our company has steadily expanded its footprint in the country by creating thousands of jobs and investing billions of dollars into cutting-edge manufacturing facilities, research and development, and startups.

Our presence here also allows us to collaborate with a growing and dynamic tech industry, where trend-setting startups, disruptors and established technology brands have created gateways for our rapid rise in market share — from phones and tablets, to washing machines and smart televisions.

A few weeks ago President Young Sohn, Samsung Electronics’ Chief Strategy Officer and Chairman of the Board at HARMAN International, reinforced why the American market has been integral to Samsung’s leadership in innovation while at 1776, a global business incubator for startups headquartered in the heart of Washington, D.C.

As a former startup founder himself, President Sohn emphasized the importance of global companies like Samsung in providing much of the capital necessary to encourage investment, entrepreneurship and risk-taking to scale ideas into transformative technology — the core American ideals that have driven economic progress for centuries.

In addition to discussing why Samsung is interacting with and investing in American technology companies and entrepreneurs, he also cast vision to the strategic ways how Samsung is doing so.

What has made Samsung successful as a global company in the U.S., President Sohn said, are three guiding rules: improving core technologies, differentiating our products, and fostering an innovation pipeline.

Product Differentiation

Our recent investment in the connected car arena exemplifies this approach exactly. We believe that the vehicle of tomorrow will be transformed by smart technology and connectivity in the same way that simple feature phones have become sophisticated smart devices over the past decade. To this end, President Sohn has led Samsung’s acquisition of Connecticut-based car solutions and lifestyle audio solutions manufacturer HARMAN in March 2017 for $8 billion.

It is Samsung’s view that audio and voice recognition features are critical to the IoT functionality of connected cars, and HARMAN’s experience in developing these sophisticated systems complements Samsung’s expertise in processors and memory, as well as telecoms and system integration.

The HARMAN and Samsung collaboration means end-to-end solutions that can seamlessly deploy connected car technology and services for automakers, thereby opening the door to further growth opportunities in this rapidly advancing market.

Improving and Advancing Core Technologies

As demonstrated by our recent HARMAN acquisition, collaboration with and investment in the U.S. technology industry is essential to the development of new, differentiated technologies. But it’s also crucial to honing many of the core technologies that must be constantly tweaked and improved to match the speed of innovation.

In fact, many of the improvements that make the Galaxy S8 our most exciting mobile product to date were developed right here in the United States:

  • The phone’s enhanced speed and performance can be attributed to improved process architecture developed by our $17 billion Samsung Austin Semiconductor facility in Texas
  • Its revolutionary dual-edge, curved-screen ‘Infinity’ display , listed by some
    experts as the most innovative and high performance smartphone display that we have ever lab tested with taller aspect ratios, was developed with help from OLED displays and Corning glass
  • New Jersey-based Princeton Identity developed the iris detection features, providing a higher level of security than fingerprint scanners and that of any other consumer phone on the market

Fostering an Innovation Pipeline

While many investors are concerned with short-term returns and view their relationships with startups as transactional, we know that it is only possible to achieve our goals by establishing long-term, trusted partnerships in order to truly understand new technologies and how they may improve our products and reimagine our capabilities.

Therefore, our approach to ROI is different. We invest to lengthen and strengthen our pipeline of the new ideas and disruptive technologies that are enhancing the innovation ecosystem through capital and in effect, accelerate their development and entry into the market.

And these new components and ideas aren’t just coming out of Silicon Valley. At Samsung, we know that innovation has no borders. That’s why it is our mission to capture transformative ideas wherever they may arise, from Austin to Princeton to Hartford.

global innovation pullout quote rainbow

The bottom line, according to President Sohn, is that our approach to investment in U.S.-based emerging technology companies has been a key contributor to our ability to transform, improve, and deliver not only the best products on the market, but the kind of products that improve lives. Additionally, this kind of investment plays a crucial role in the American economy, driving growth, creating jobs and spurring further innovation in other industries.

Last year alone, global companies spent $57 billion on U.S. research and development activities, meaning more than 17 percent of all global R&D was performed by the U.S. private sector and funded by foreign firms. Amounting to nearly 5,000 companies, these same firms have created 6.4 million American jobs, including 2.4 million jobs in manufacturing.



Samsung’s investments, just like those by American firms, help drive the American economy with our distinct point of view. One that has been founded on, for nearly four decades, engaging this key market to foster innovation by constantly improving our products and embracing today’s ideas that create the technology of tomorrow.

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