While Samsung is best known for its consumer electronics business which includes its Galaxy range of smartphones, the company also happens to be the second largest semiconductor chipmaker after Intel, and the largest supplier of AMOLED panels globally. Samsung is also the world largest maker of memory chips ahead of fellow South Korean semiconductor chipmaker Hynix, and counts global technology giants such as Apple and Nvidia amongst its customers. Now, the head of the company’s logic chip business, Mr. Kim Gi Nam, has let it be known in no uncertain terms that he believes the company could aggressively expand its logic chip business further, especially as demand has been soaring in recent times. Remarkably, Samsung plans to do that by putting all its customers – including Samsung Electronics – on an equal footing. Meaning, Samsung’s consumer electronics unit might not get any preferential treatment from its own sister concern.
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Speaking on the company’s plans about its chip business, Mr. Kim said, “We believe we have plenty of room to grow. If you have a fab to operate, it doesn’t matter whether your customer is internal or on the outside. Whoever buys our capacity is the primary customer”. For its premium Galaxy handsets like the S6, S6 Edge, Edge+ and Note, Samsung uses Exynos chipsets, which are designed, developed and manufactured in-house by Samsung Semiconductor. The operating profits for the company’s semiconductor business unit (which includes memory chips, processing chips and camera sensors) jumped from 1.86 billion won in Q2, 2014, to as much as 3.4 billion won in the second quarter of this year.
On Thursday, Samsung opened the doors to the newly constructed headquarters at Santa Clara, California, for its semiconductor research and development efforts. The building comes with a massive 1 million square foot of office space and will have 700 employees working in it. The site will reportedly house the research wings for the company’s semiconductor division, as well as its LED display technologies. While Samsung is still the world’s largest manufacturer of smartphones by volume, it has seen lower-than-expected sales for its flagship Galaxy S6 handset this year, after having suffered a fairly ordinary 2014 with fast diminishing market share in key emerging economies like China and India.