The company said the new leader will help strengthen its competitiveness amid an uncertain global business environment.

Samsung has today (21 May) announced Young Hyun Jun as the new head of its semiconductor business.

The company said he will strengthen Samsung’s competitiveness “amid an uncertain global business environment”. The electronics veteran will take over the role from Kye Hyun Kyung, who has been leading the division up until now.

Jun has extensive experience in the chips and battery business, having joined Samsung in 2000 working in dynamic random-access memory and flash memory development.

He then became head of the memory business division at the company in 2014 and CEO of Samsung SDI in 2017, before leading the future business division in 2024. Jun has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Hanyang University as well as a master’s degree and PhD from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science.

Speaking at Samsung’s 2023 biannual semiconductor tech seminar, Jun spoke about the company’s ability to act as “a lighthouse” for smaller Korean chip companies.

“Just as a ship out on a dark sea can navigate safely by seeing the beam from a lighthouse, small and medium-sized Korean semiconductor companies can develop and grow alongside Samsung Electronics” he said.

“We will continue to grow and cooperate with Samsung Electronics to contribute to the further development and competitiveness of the semiconductor ecosystem.”

Chips battle rages on

Samsung’s decision comes as the AI chip battle heats up and demand for semiconductors soars around the world.

In April of this year, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) saw its revenue surge by 16.5pc, with revenue in March 2024 up more than a third compared to the same month in 2023.

Meanwhile, Nvidia briefly hit the $2trn valuation mark in February of this year amid climbing demand for AI chips. The company’s next earnings call on 22 May is expected to show another round of robust figures, albeit with a predicted deceleration compared to its last blockbuster call.

While individual companies are enjoying the spoils of AI chip demand, Europe and the US as a whole are also fighting for chip sovereignty.

The US government has been pumping billions into major semiconductor producers – including Samsung – in a bid to boost the company’s semiconductor manufacturing capabilities.

And earlier this morning, it was announced that European research labs, including Ireland’s Tyndall Institute, would receive a total of €2.5bn in funding under European Chips Act.

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