SDI CEO Bets on Green Tech
Samsung SDI chief executive Choi Chi-hun has his goals simplified ― he intends to raise the company's profile in lithium-ion batteries and that would mean eating the lunch of Japanese market leaders.
Choi, 53, who formerly headed General Electric's Asia-Pacific unit before taking the management helm at Samsung SDI in December, is confident about the company's chance for dominance in batteries.
Leaping on the bandwagon of green technology would be one way of getting there.
"I want SDI to be called a great company that maximizes the value of our shareholders, customers, part suppliers and strategic partners," Choi told The Korea Times.
Choi, who predicts a paradigm shift in the global consumer electronics industry, has a sharp eye for global technology trends and expects his employees to be just as aware.
He is rarely seen in his office in Seoul, but is more often seen at Samsung SDI's manufacturing sites around the country or huddling with business partners and clients, company officials said.
Samsung SDI's commitment in lithium ion batteries comes at a time when the market seems ripe for an explosion, due to increasing demand from electric and hybrid vehicles.
There is also a growing demand for lithium polymer batteries and other smaller products from portable devices such as smartphones, digital cameras, laptops and emerging slate-like computers like the Apple iPad.
"We are seeing an immense opportunity, as everyone in our market is, especially in the auto market where the departure from internal-combustion engines is becoming visible. However, we are confident that we are in the best position to exploit this growth, and Choi's experience and leadership would be critical," said Samsung SDI spokesman Seo Hae-su.
Samsung SDI, which also produces organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs) and plasma panels, is currently constructing a lithium-ion battery factory that will supply products to Germany's BMW AG, a project pushed through a joint venture with German auto parts maker Robert Bosch GmbH.