The “Big 2” in the Korean economy, Samsung Group and Hyundai Motor Group, are likely to form a future car technology alliance. The potential for cooperation between the two companies increased as Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong of Samsung Electronics and Executive Vice Chairman Chung Eui-sun of Hyundai Motor Group held a second meeting in two months following the surprise meeting in May.
Observers speculate that the two companies will actively respond to the “Smart Mobility” project, the core of the Korean version of the New Deal announced by the government, and will join forces to lead the future car market.
According to Samsung, its executives visited Hyundai and Kia Motors’ Namyang R&D Center in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi-do on Jul. 21st to discuss ways to cooperate with Hyundai Motor Group’s executives in the future automotive and mobility sectors.
Samsung executives, including Vice Chairman Lee, heard and shared opinions about Hyundai Motor Group’s products and technologies in the new growth areas such as UAM (Urban Air Mobility) and robotics. They also toured the R&D site and test-drove autonomous vehicles and hydrogen-electric vehicles.
Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong’s visit to the Namyang R&D Center was in response to Executive Vice Chairman Chung Eui-sun’s visit to the Samsung SDI Cheonan site in May. In the previous meeting, Samsung SDI shared opinions on the next-generation battery business and possible collaborative effort related to their development of solid-state battery, the “dream battery.”
Namyang R&D Center, where the two heads meet, is called the “R&D Heartland.” It has all the necessary resources for R&D, such as style, design, test and evaluation, as well as new cars and new technologies of Hyundai Motors. Founded in 1995, the Namyang R&D Center is the largest automobile research and development facility in Korea, employing over 1,400 researchers including R&D and designers on an area of 3.47 million square meters.
This is the first time that the globally competitive Hyundai Motor Group’s center of R&D was revealed to the head of their competitor. Some conjecture that the two companies will collaborate more closely over the future of the electric vehicle battery and the smart mobility industry.
In particular, it is drawing attention whether these large conglomerates will be actively collaborating in future technologies overall, with Hyundai Motors leading the government’s Green New Deal drive. At the National Announcement on the Korean New Deal on Jul. 14th, Executive Vice Chairman Chung said, “I recently visited Samsung, SK, and LG in order to discuss new battery technologies. I am proud that the three top battery manufacturers are Korean companies. We will cooperate and stay ahead of the global market competition.”
Hyundai Motor is marking next year as the timing of leaping with their next-generation electric vehicles, which applies the platform dedicated to electric cars. The next-generation electric vehicle can be recharged in 20 minutes, the shortest time in the world, and runs 450km on a single charge. The specific timeline proposes that by 2025, it will sell 1 million electric vehicles and record a market share of over 10%, becoming a global leader. In addition, in 2028, they suggested the commercialization of urban air mobility (UAM) as a goal in the Green New Deal.
In order to realize this objective, there will be multiple areas that can create synergy if they cooperate with Samsung, SK, and LG, such as in the fields of autonomous driving, ultra-high-speed communication, artificial intelligence (AI), and batteries. In line with these approaches, Hyundai has also expressed their willingness to cooperate more with three domestic battery makers such as Samsung, LG, and SK to catch up with Tesla, which is one step ahead in the electric vehicle market.
Samsung is accelerating the selection of semiconductor-oriented electronic components as one of the four new growth businesses. In 2017, Samsung Electronics entered the market by acquiring Haman, a specialist in automotive electronics (electronic equipment). Last week, Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong visited the Busan branch of Samsung Electro-Mechanics and ordered it to proactively respond to the preoccupation of the MLCC (Multilayer Ceramic Capacitors) market for electronics.
In addition, communication and artificial intelligence (AI) businesses that Samsung is focusing on are also important fields for future cars. Samsung Electronics is putting a drive on 6G technology, which is considered as the next-generation future technology. 6G is the core future communication technology that enables tera bps-class ultra-fast transmission speeds and micro(μ) sec-class ultra-low-latency wireless communication. Artificial intelligence is also being fostered intensively by Samsung as a promising field.
Meanwhile, the business world insiders expect Executive Vice Chairman Chung to meet with SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won and LG Group Chairman Koo Kwang-Mo at the Hyundai Motor Namyang R&D Center following the meeting with Vice Chairman Lee.
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