Samsung to buy shares in Chinese EV automaker

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Samsung to buy shares in Chinese EV automaker

Samsung Electronics, the No. 1 smartphone manufacturer in the world, announced Friday that it will invest in Chinese electric car maker BYD in hopes of strengthening its semiconductor and electric car businesses.

The company, however, did not disclose the exact amount of the investment. Local media outlets, citing industry insiders, reported that it will be close to 500 billion won ($440.7 million). After the deal, Samsung is expected to secure some 2 percent of BYD’s shares.

“The purpose of the investment is to strengthen our business lines,” Samsung said in a press release on Friday. “We are not going to get involved in BYD’s business management.”

Samsung Electronics established a new team at the end of last year to manage automotive application components in order to widen supply to the newly growing electric car market. The company added that the deal is not related to Samsung SDI’s move to find new places to supply its lithium-ion batteries.

BYD is the largest electric carmaker in the world, selling more than 60,000 electric and hybrid cars last year. It is also the main supplier of metal cases and low-priced batteries for smartphones to Samsung Electronics. Currently, the Galaxy S6 and S7 series use BYD’s metal cases.

Samsung, in turn, supplies various sensors, semiconductors and displays to BYD. Many industry insiders believe this is why the deal will help both companies secure supplies.

BYD generated buzz in 2008 when Warren Buffet invested some $230 million in it through a subsidiary company.

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