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Samsung bets on automotive semiconductor chips

2013/08/08 14:31

SEOUL, Aug. 8 (Yonhap) -- Samsung Electronics Co., the world's largest maker of memory chips, is taking a fresh look at the automotive semiconductor chip market, as global automakers are rushing to produce high-tech vehicles such as electric cars equipped with infotainment systems and wireless networking, industry sources said Thursday.

Samsung believes chip demand from automakers will grow fast as cars of late are built with high-end infotainment systems, powertrain control systems, in-vehicle networking, high safety levels and high fuel-efficiency, the sources said.

Automotive chips are already widely used, in systems that control energy efficiency, as sensor chips for temperature control and image sensors for safety features, among others.

During an investors relations meeting last month, Samsung said it is considering shifting its focus away from dynamic random access memory chip-based business for the automotive market to a data storage-based one.

According to recent data compiled by market researcher Gartner Inc., the global auto semiconductor market is expected to reach US$25.94 billion this year, growing 4 percent from last year's $24.98 billion.

The market will further expand to reach $29.68 billion in 2015 and $34.71 billion in 2017, according to Gartner.

Meanwhile, Samsung's local rival, LG Electronics Inc., launched the new Vehicle Components Business Division in July, as its automotive parts business is regarded as a new growth engine.