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Samsung doubling down on silicon in pursuit of new ‘K-Chip’ vision

Samsung is ramping up R&D efforts in the semiconductor segment as it’s starting to actively pursue a vision of a new “K-Chip” era of technologies. The company on Thursday said it’s already planning numerous academic partnerships and business collaborations across South Korea, largely in hopes of expediting its home country’s recovery from the slump caused by the global coronavirus pandemic.

While it’s not like Samsung’s foundry business slept through the last decade, there’s no doubt it has plenty of room for improvement. For example, it was only a few weeks back that company insiders claimed the chip branch felt “humiliated” by Qualcomm, i.e. the Snapdragon 865 and how much better it performs than the Exynos 990. And though Samsung’s decision to double down on pioneering semiconductor tech may not have been a direct consequence of that episode, rolling up its sleeves and getting to work definitely seems like a more promising product strategy than giving lukewarm non-statements in response to such embarrassing reports.

K-Chip vision vs. just-OK-Chip fears

Going hand-in-hand with Samsung’s chip business are its proprietary artificial intelligence solutions. The development of those was also given some extra attention this week after the chaebol promoted its Chief Research Scientist and top AI expert, Dr. Sebastian Seung, to head of Samsung Research. Overall, this concentrated push toward even more advanced chip technologies is being approached as a long-term play, as Samsung’s now explicitly talking about “cultivating” AI expertise across South Korea.

Given the unenviable position one of its largest rivals — Huawei — is currently in, this seems like as good of a time as any for Samsung to reinforce its already well-established portfolio in the semiconductor space. Only time will tell whether the company will eventually manage to usher in a new era of this “K-Chip” excellence it speaks of, though Qualcomm certainly won’t be making things any easier for it.

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