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Samsung heir visits chip R&D center amid uncertainties

Consumer Electronics 14:39 June 19, 2020

SEOUL, June 19 (Yonhap) -- Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong on Friday visited a chip R&D center in South Korea to check the company's future strategy amid global uncertainties.

Lee, the de facto leader of top conglomerate Samsung Group, discussed the tech giant's business strategy with senior executives at its chip R&D center in Hwaseong, south of Seoul, touching on issues from system chip development to post-COVID-19 plans.

Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong (2nd from L) walks along with executives at the company's chip R&D center in Hwaseong, south of Seoul, on June 19, 2020, in this photo provided by Samsung Electronics Co (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

"We are in a situation facing severe risk," Lee said. "Our survival depends on how fast we can secure future technologies. We do not have much time."

This is the second time this year that Lee inspected the chip R&D center and emphasized its future competitiveness. He previously visited the R&D center on Jan. 2 to start the new year.

Lee's visit comes as Samsung tries to overcome uncertainties caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic and renewed trade tensions between the United States and China.

In April last year, Samsung Electronics announced a vision to become the world's No. 1 logic chip maker by 2030 by investing 133 trillion won (US$109 billion) and bolstering its competitiveness in the system LSI and foundry businesses.

Samsung, the world's leading memory chip and smartphone maker, recently announced the addition of new foundry and NAND flash production facilities in South Korea. In May, Lee visited the company's chip plant in Xian, China, to check its business plans.

Lee's visit also comes after he avoided arrest last week for his alleged involvement in a controversial merger between two Samsung Group units in 2015.

Prosecutors suspect that Lee and the group's top management were involved in a calibrated scheme to intentionally lower the value of Samsung C&T prior to its merger with Cheil Industries so as to facilitate Lee's managerial succession from his ailing father, Lee Kun-hee.

kdon@yna.co.kr
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