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‘Samsung’s acquisition of Harman is not about carmaking’

Samsung Electronics on Monday reaffirmed its intention of becoming a Tier 1 car supplier instead of becoming an automaker, denying rampant speculation that had followed its surprise announcement to acquire a leading maker of connected car solutions

“Over the last week since the Samsung-Harman deal, we have visited many key automotive clients globally and made sure that we wanted to become primary solution provider, Tier 1,” said Harman International Industries’ CEO Dinesh Paliwal at the press briefing held in Samsung Electronics’ Seocho office building in Seoul.

Harman’s CEO Dinesh Paliwal speaks at the press briefing held in Samsung Electronics’ Seocho building on Monday. (Samsung Electronics)
Harman’s CEO Dinesh Paliwal speaks at the press briefing held in Samsung Electronics’ Seocho building on Monday. (Samsung Electronics)

“(We made sure) we do not want to enter into carmaking,” he added.

Harman -- which signed an acquisition deal with Samsung Electronics a week ago -- is currently supplying its infotainment and car audio technologies to global automakers including Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, Toyota, Volkswagen and Hyundai.

“Samsung’s acquisition of Harman actually signals that the company does not want to become an automaker,” Samsung’s automobile team chief Park Chong-hwan added at the event, emphasizing how automakers are the company’s target customers.

In the automobile market, the two companies are expected to create synergy as Harman holds system knowledge, software development and automobile eco-system while Samsung has expertise in display, mobility and 5G.

Alongside the automobile business, Samsung and Harman plan to work together to improve the audio technologies of the tech giant’s smartphones and home appliances.

“Since we are globally number one in audio technology, we plan to create new opportunities by applying the audio technologies into Samsung’s smartphones and home appliances,” Paliwal said.

As for the possible adoption of Harman’s audio technology into Samsung’s flagship smartphone Galaxy series, Park said, “We may adopt Harman’s luxury audio technology into Galaxy S series possibly in 2018.”

Following the press event, the Harman chief met with Samsung Electronics’ vice chairman Lee Jae-yong to further discuss their partnership and vision. 

By Shin Ji-hye (shinjh@heraldcorp.com)
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