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Samsung sets bold goals for the new year

Targets 20% increase in handset sales, Silicon Valley expansion and chairman urges development of new businesses


Published: 3 January, 2013

READ MORE: Samsung | Patents/IPR | Handset

Samsung starts 2013 embroiled in patent disputes - the ongoing saga with Apple, plus a newer tussle with Ericsson. However, in other respects it is still on the ascendant, especially in mobile devices, and has set ambitious goals to keep it that way this year.

The company aims to ship 20% more handsets in 2013 compared to 2012, but chairman Lee Kun Hee does not want the firm to rest on its mobile laurels. Not only is there renewed investment in boosting Samsung's presence in other mobile businesses such as LTE infrastructure, but Lee wants employees to develop new businesses.

According to a report last week from The Korea Times, Samsung has set a target of 510m handsets for 2013, well ahead of the 420m it projected for 2012. About three-quarters of that total, or 390m, will be smartphones.

Meanwhile, the chairman, in a new year speech to staff, warns that Samsung must continue to innovate in new businesses, to offset increasing competition and recessionary pressures in its main markets. "There's an ongoing competition by global companies across all areas from products, technology development and hiring talented people to patent disputes," Lee said. "The market is big and opportunities are wide open, so we should find out new businesses that Samsung's future will hinge on."

One area of immediate expansion is in US chip operations. Samsung has announced plans to expand its activities in Silicon Valley by investing more resources in existing R&D centers and establishing new innovation centers. Samsung Semiconductor will build a 1.1m-square foot sales and R&D headquarters on the current site of its semiconductor and display panel businesses in San Jose. And Samsung Information Systems America (SISA) will relocate its R&D center in North San Jose to an 8.5-acre site as well as expanding its Open Innovation efforts. Its new Strategy & Innovation Center in Silicon Valley's Menlo Park is at the heart of this, while the Open Innovation Center, nearby in Palo Alto, will focus on identifying innovative start-ups in the Valley. Samsung plans similar facilities in Korea.

On the IPR front, Samsung has filed a complaint against Ericsson with the US ITC (International Trade Commission), requesting an import ban on products which it claims infringe on seven of its patents. The action is in response to a similar suit by Ericsson. The Korean firm said in a statement: "We have sought to negotiate with Ericsson in good faith. However, Ericsson has proven unwilling to continue such negotiations by making unreasonable claims, which it is now trying to enforce in court. The accused Ericsson products include telecommunications networking equipment, such as base stations."

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