Samsung plans to open a new $US300 million R&D center in Silicon Valley by summer 2015 and hire like crazy to do it.
Last week, Business Insider had a chance to speak with Bob Brennan, senior vice president of Samsung’s Memory System Application Lab, and hear more about Samsung’s push to expand in Silicon Valley.
“Samsung strategically determined the best pool of talent in the U.S would be in the Bay Area,” Brennan said. “We found that investment in Silicon Valley brought back some unique value to the business.”
The close proximity to top startups and all the major customers made Silicon Valley an ideal location for Samsung’s new R&D center, Brennan points out. “You have proximity to, what I call, this ‘technology pulse,'” he said.
Brennan likes to emphasise that this proximity can lead to more collaboration and better new ideas. “It enables us to synthesize solutions that are more innovative and more compelling than we could have otherwise,” he said.
Although Brennan didn’t say exactly how many people he expects to hire at the new facility, he did hint at a massive hiring spree.
“I know that in the memory business, I’m hiring like crazy — top PhDs and top talent in the industry as fast as I possibly can,” he said.
Brennan said Samsung talks to startups “all the time,” and there’s always the possibility of an acquisition if it finds the right match.
“One of the big pieces of our culture is co-prosperity,” Brennan said. “We truly believe in working with our partners. That’s why in so many markets, Samsung has done really well.”
The new R&D center in Silicon Valley is part of Samsung’s continuing effort to recapture its innovative mojo — and find the “next big thing.”
Because of a maturing smartphone market and rising competition from smaller players, Samsung is in desperate need of new technologies to fuel its growth. In fact, Samsung spent more on R&D than any other tech firm last year, yet still lagged behind Apple and Google on the world’s most innovative companies list, according to a recent report by consulting firm Booz & Company.
The new 1.1 million square foot facility, currently under construction in north San Jose, California will serve as the North American headquarters for Samsung’s Device Solutions department. The company currently has 10 other R&D labs in the U.S., seven of which are located in Silicon Valley. More than 500 researchers work in its Silicon Valley operations, with its workforce growing at a rate of 20 to 30% a year, according to Samsung.
You can take an animated tour of Samsung’s new Silicon Valley R&D center in the video below:
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