In what is being called an "aggressive move," South Korean tech paragon Samsung will bridge the proverbial and now literal industry waters to create a much larger physical presence in Silicon Valley.
Having opened what is considered a "new innovation center" in Menlo Park, Samsung is next setting its sights on a research and development laboratory in San Jose. A Samsung "start-up incubator" is in the works for Palo Alto.
But most compelling is Samsung's upcoming erection of a new, massive semiconductor campus with a unique design that may be an attempt to wrangle away the spotlight from Apple's envisioned rocket-ship-shaped campus.
"The South Korean tech giant is storming rival Apple's backyard, launching an aggressive expansion into Silicon Valley," reports the LA Times.
With Samsung and Apple competing for the same workforce, investors and innovations, the Times opines that these moves in Silicon Valley suggest that "Samsung believes its Silicon Valley expansions are needed to inject more entrepreneurial DNA into the bloodstream of a company known more as an innovation follower than leader."
Samsung's chief strategy officer based in Silicon Valley, Young Sohn, calls the Northern California location "the epicenter of disruptive forces, adding, "And I want to make sure we're part of those disruptions."
For years now, Samsung has enjoyed a humble presence in Silicon Valley with its "outpost" of a semiconductor headquarters, quaint research and development lab and venture capital office.
Samsung's rapid growth has led to some anxiety among Wall Street investors who wonder if Samsung's expansion in Silicon Valley also means that Apple might soon lose its luster. The fear is justified, as Samsung — which originally had been a major supplier of components for Apple — has become the world's leading seller of smartphones (though Apple retains the top spot in the U.S.).
"The reason they're doing what they are doing now is that Samsung is in a position of market strength," says Tim Bajarin of Creative Strategies about the company's reputation as more of a follower than a leader of innovation. "They now are beginning to do the R&D, which will allow them to control their destiny instead of relying on other people to make breakthroughs."
Sohn agrees, saying that although in the past much of the company's innovations were made in Korea, it's time to "reach out to global hot spots. How we tap into global innovation efforts will dictate our success."
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