The Korea Herald


[Herald Interview] Why Korea is a crucial partner for Qualcomm

Chief commercial officer touts chip giant’s extensive partnerships with Korean tech firms

By Jie Ye-eun

Published : July 11, 2023 - 15:42

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Qualcomm Technologies Chief Commercial Officer Jim Cathey (Qualcomm Technologies) Qualcomm Technologies Chief Commercial Officer Jim Cathey (Qualcomm Technologies)

US chip giant Qualcomm Technologies has made an active push to drive innovation in next-generation growth engine industries in South Korea, with big name companies such as Samsung, LG and Hyundai. It looks to continue the journey through closer partnerships with key industry players here, according to a Qualcomm executive.

“Building on more than 30 years of our close collaborations, Qualcomm is committed to driving continued innovation in Korea. We are excited to continue our journey with Korea as we achieve mutual growth and lead the industry together,” Jim Cathey, chief commercial officer at Qualcomm, said in an email interview with The Korea Herald.

Qualcomm is known for its impressive chipsets, with its flagship Snapdragon processors being adopted by various promising industries from the fifth-generation network and automobiles to the Internet of Things and extended reality.

Samsung Electronics uses Snapdragon chips for its high-end Galaxy phones and their foldable variants. Following this year’s Galaxy S23 smartphones, speculation is growing that the upcoming foldable phones, set to be unveiled later this month, are highly likely to adopt the latest Snapdragon chips, called Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy.

Another burgeoning area for the Samsung-Qualcomm partnership is an XR headset, for which competition is heating up with Apple’s recent announcement of its own mixed-reality headset, the Vision Pro. In February this year, Samsung announced a trilateral partnership with Qualcomm and Google to establish an ecosystem for the next-generation XR technology.

“We believe that XR will be the next generation of computing and are excited to see the ecosystem grow and thrive,” the Qualcomm CCO said. “With our Snapdragon XR innovations – together with Samsung’s amazing products and Google’s technology – we have the foundation to make these opportunities a reality and drive the future of the spatial interest.”

He said that Qualcomm is also working with SKonec Entertainment, a Seoul-based virtual reality game developer, on content targeting VR and MR devices.

The Qualcomm executive also shared the company’s automotive vision through extensive partnerships with Korean companies.

LG Electronics, which is making a big push on automotive solutions more recently, has also teamed up with Qualcomm for advanced driver assistance systems and autonomous vehicle technologies. Hyundai Mobis, the parts unit of Hyundai Motor Group, is also working on its own Level 3 self-driving controller together with the US chip company.

“We look forward to continuing to invest time and resources into advancing our solutions. Also, collaborations with Korean customers in the automotive industry are in discussions,” he added.

Cathey joined Qualcomm in 2006 and served in diverse leadership roles handling global clients and sales networks. He was promoted to CCO in April 2022.

A frequent visitor to Seoul, he also showed affection for Korea, saying “Korea is a special place that I’d love to come back to from time to time. I look forward to my next visit.”