Samsung chairman visits Verizon as first stop of two-week US trip

Daniel Chiang, Taipei; Jack Wu, DIGITIMES Asia 0

Photo: Samsung Chairman Lee Jae-yong and Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg. Credit: Samsung

Samsung Electronics chairman Lee Jae-yong recently embarked on a two-week business trip to the US.

For the first stop, he met with Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg. Subsequently, Lee plans to meet with top executives of major US companies in the IT, AI, semiconductor, and robotics sectors. Whether his meetings include Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang has become a point of attention.

Citing information from Samsung, Korea Economic Daily and ET News reported that Lee Jae-yong left for the US on May 31, 2024, and met with Vestberg in New York on June 4 to discuss cooperation on next-generation communication technologies. Samsung and Verizon signed a long-term network equipment supply contract worth KRW8 trillion (approx. US$5.8 billion) in 2020, making Verizon Samsung's largest customer for its communications business.

In the second half of 2024, Samsung and Verizon plan to enhance sales cooperation for new Galaxy products and jointly promote these products, including showcasing Galaxy's AI features at Verizon stores. They also discussed the visions of next-generation communication technologies and AI-driven technology and service solutions.

Lee Jae-yong is reportedly expected to hold over 30 meetings with the top executives of various US companies within two weeks and inspect local businesses, including the plant at Taylor, Texas. The semiconductor industry is closely watching whether Jensen Huang is on his list of meetings.

Currently, Nvidia is testing High-Bandwidth Memory (HBM) samples from Samsung. At the Computex 2024 press conference on June 4, Jensen Huang mentioned that Samsung, SK Hynix, and Micron will all supply HBM to Nvidia, raising industry expectations.

In addition, industry analyses noted that companies like Microsoft, Intel, and Amazon are forming "anti-Nvidia alliances" in response to Nvidia's dominance in the GPU market. If Samsung joins these alliances, it could expand its customer base for HBM and other products.

Samsung's semiconductor Device Solutions (DS) division reported a significant loss of KRW15 trillion in 2023. Not only did its wafer foundry business fail to close the market share gap with industry leader TSMC but it also ceded its top spot in the HBM sector, crucial to AI chips, to SK Hynix. It is anticipated that Lee's visit to the US will lead to the formulation of future strategies for the group to address the current crisis, in collaboration with the newly appointed DS division head, Jun Young-hyun.