Samsung restructures R&D unit, will operate 22 centers worldwide

Samsung's new division will serve as a single unit integrating consumer electronics, IT and mobile research.

Samsung launched a research initiative, reorganizing its Software R&D division and Digital Media & Communications R&D center into a single entity.

Samsung Research, as the new effort is called, will serve as a single R&D unit integrating the South Korean company’s consumer electronics, IT and mobile efforts. The division will operate 22 centers around the world with a total staff of 20,000 and will focus on areas such as artificial intelligence and the IoT.

The new organization will also be tasked with exploring and developing new business opportunities.

“Starting now, Samsung Research will drive the most advanced technological leadership and innovation based on AI technologies to realize the future that everyone dreams of, with the most talented people in the world,” said Hyun-suk Kim, president and head of Samsung Research, in a press release. “In order to achieve this vision, one of Samsung Research’s first missions will be instill a development culture where everyone encourages one another in creativity, as well as autonomously participates in the development process.”

The move underscores Samsung’s ongoing—and difficult--effort in mobile to expand beyond hardware into software and services. Reuters reported two years ago that the company’s mobile business had largely failed to capitalize on opportunities in the mobile market due to leadership that struggled to move beyond the mindset of the devices themselves.

Samsung remains the world’s largest smartphone vendor, however, and in October it posted a record operating profit of $12.9 billion due primarily to sales of its semiconductors and display units.