Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Jae-yong and Tesla CEO Elon Musk Discuss Cooperation on Advanced Technologies

A meeting that took place between Samsung Electronics Executive Chairman Lee Jae-yong and Tesla CEO Elon Musk at the headquarters of Samsung Electronics Device Solutions America in Silicon Valley has tongues wagging. The meeting was part of Lee’s 22-day trip to the United States. It was the first time Lee and Musk had met.

Lee and Musk discussed potential cooperation including semiconductors for autonomous vehicles. The move aligns with Samsung’s strategy to secure a dominant position in the next-generation semiconductor market for automotive. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) currently manufactures and supplies Tesla’s full self-driving chip (FSD chip).

The attendance of Samsung Display CEO Choi Joo-sun at the meeting might also open doors for a potential collaboration between Samsung Display and Tesla, muscling in on territory occupied by LG Display. Samsung Display already supplies automotive displays for companies like Ferrari, BMW, and Hyundai Motor.

Samsung Reorganizing Supply Chains for Automotive

Samsung is also reportedly planning to build a new chip development facility in Yokohama, Japan, as part of its efforts to reorganize its global supply chain. The company will invest around 300 million yen ($222 million) to establish the facility, with operations expected to commence in 2025.

The facility will focus on developing prototypes related to post-processing for semiconductors and image sensors for vehicles. This move is seen as an attempt by Samsung to leverage Japan’s materials and parts competitiveness and counter the expansion of its rival, TSMC, in Japan. Both TSMC and Samsung are setting up research and development bases in Japan, indicating the country’s importance in the future market. The decision to invest in Japan is also driven by the market potential for autonomous vehicles, as many Japanese companies require chips for this sector.