Samsung pushes ahead with strategy meeting

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Samsung pushes ahead with strategy meeting

Up to 500 executives of Samsung Electronics are meeting for three days starting Monday to review output from this year’s second half and establish business strategies for 2017.

The so-called global strategy meeting is a routine event that takes place every June and December across the tech conglomerate’s factories and management offices in Gyeonggi.

One aspect of this year’s December gathering, though, will not be routine. The meeting customarily follows an annual CEO-level reshuffle, but Samsung has yet to execute one this year, as some of its executives are under investigation for allegedly financing the equestrian activities of Chung Yoo-ra, the daughter of President Park Geun-hye’s disgraced confidante Choi Soon-sil. In return, the company is said to have received approval for a crucial merger between two Samsung affiliates from the National Pension Service, a major Samsung stakeholder.

“The theme of the global strategy meeting doesn’t change according to who takes the executive posts,” a Samsung spokesman said. “We are holding it as scheduled since we can’t postpone it for good.”

Samsung has acquired a record number of companies this year and faces the challenge of integrating them into its existing businesses to generate further value and drive growth.

The first day on Monday was devoted to the IT and mobile communications division. Key topics included identifying the cause of the now-discontinued Galaxy Note7’s explosions and strategies for the upcoming Galaxy S8 model.

Much of the public buzz surrounding the new phone is over when it will debut and how advanced and disruptive its own artificially intelligent voice assistant will be. Samsung recently acquired Viv Labs, a Silicon Valley start-up founded by the creators of Apple’s Siri, to create its own voice assistant.

On the second day today, consumer electronics will be front and center. Executives will discuss ways to tackle the premium goods market and create synergy with Dacor, the American luxury kitchen appliance maker that it acquired months earlier.

Also on the agenda is possible trade protectionism in the United States from Donald Trump’s administration. Samsung could face a heavy blow from any protectionist policies since some of the products sold in the United States are produced in its Mexico plant.

The final day, Wednesday, will deal with Samsung’s device solutions business, which includes memory chips and automotive components. In particular, car parts will be a big part of the company’s future in the wake of its acquisition of Harman International, an American supplier of connected products for automakers.

Hyundai Motor Group on Monday also began a two-day meeting with heads of its overseas units to discuss strategies for next year. The conglomerate has shaken up the format, departing from its normal unilateral delivery of reports and making it an in-depth discussion by region and issue. The company said it’s to keep up with the rapid pace of change in the industry.


BY SEO JI-EUN [seo.jieun@joongang.co.kr]

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