unwired view: Samsung’s CEO skips CES to show there’s a ‘Chinese Wall’ between component and smartphone biz
Samsung’s CEO, Kwon Oh-hyun will not be attending next year’s CES. The event, held each January in Las Vegas, Nevada is one of the biggest tech-related trade shows in the world. During CES, many new mobile devices usually get unveiled every year.
This decision by Samsung’s CEO doesn’t come without some reasoning. Apparently, the official will skip the show in order to show that there’s a ‘Chinese Wall’ between his conglomerate’s component and ‘finished goods’ businesses.
Aside from being a major player in the phone, smartphone, and tablet space, Samsung also makes a lot of components for such devices. Displays, memory chips, solid state drives, and processors are all items that Samsung sells to Apple, while at the same time competing with the Californian company in the realm of smartphones and tablets.
That has understandably caused some concern from Apple, it seems. The Cupertino company has complained that Samsung’s different divisions are sharing classified details between themselves. Especially the component division has been accused of giving the mobile device making people inside Samsung a heads-up regarding Apple’s new products, supposedly thus allowing Samsung Mobile to compete better and faster against the US company. Of course, Samsung has strongly denied these allegations.
And now it looks like it wants to further emphasize this ‘Chinese Wall’ between divisions with its CEO’s absence from CES. How exactly this absence will prove the existence of such an information barrier between the company’s different divisions is very much unclear.
But that’s the narrative that’s been served up to The Korea Times by an anonymous “high-ranking Samsung executive”. In the absence of the CEO, consumer electronics division chief Yoon Boo-keun will hold a press conference about next year’s business targets.
Obviously, Kwon’s absence from Las Vegas may have more to do with “his silent leadership”, as another unnamed Samsung official put it, than with any Chinese Wall. But we may never know. For now, such speculation is all we have.
That’s because Samsung spokesperson Song Cheol-gyu has declined to comment on CEO Kwon Oh-hyun’s presence (or absence) from CES in January. And even if we will, at some point, get an official response about this, you can bet it won’t include any reasoning beyond something as vague as possible.