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Samsung chief inspects battery plant in Malaysia during holidays

Feb. 12, 2024 - 13:09 By Jie Ye-eun
Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Jae-yong (center) visits Samsung SDI's battery plant in the Malaysian city of Seremban on Friday. (Samsung Electronics)

Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Jae-yong last week renewed his will to continue bold investments despite business uncertainties upon his visit to the construction site of a new 1.7 trillion won ($1.2 billion) battery plant in Malaysia.

According to the tech giant on Monday, the Samsung chief on Friday visited the Malaysian city of Seremban where Samsung SDI, the battery-making arm of Samsung Group, is building its second plant with its completion set for 2025.

Samsung SDI aims to bolster its readiness for battery demands by producing its advanced cylindrical batteries, called PRiMX 21700, which are 21-millimeter-wide and 70-millimeter-long battery cells, in the coming months.

The first Seremban plant is Samsung SDI’s first overseas unit, which was set up in 1991. The plant, which used to produce cathode-ray tubes for TVs in earlier years, was transformed for battery production in 2012.

“We shouldn’t be intimidated by unfavorable market sentiments. Even in difficult times, we should continue to make bold investments,” Lee was quoted as saying during the visit.

“We should create new values and secure unrivaled competitiveness.”

Lee’s comments come as Samsung SDI is bracing for business uncertainty even after record earnings of 22.7 trillion won in sales and 1.6 trillion won in operating profits last year.

The company projected short-term market fluctuations amid slowing demands for EVs and other electric equipment but vowed to continue efforts to secure its competitiveness for sustainable growth.

On Saturday, he also visited Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital, to look around retail stores and gauge consumer sentiments. Currently, Malaysia is Samsung’s top smartphone market in terms of shipments.

Upon the visit that was made during the Lunar New Year’s holidays in Korea, Lee also held a meeting with employees of local units of Samsung Electronics, Samsung C&T and Samsung Engineering, to boost their morale.

It was the Samsung chief’s first overseas business trip this year. He reportedly returned to Seoul on Sunday.

In the meantime, many Samsung companies are doing business extensively in Malaysia.

Samsung Electronics operates its largest retail store in Southeast Asia. Samsung SDS, the IT solutions unit, is responsible for handling equipment and materials logistics for SK Nexilis, the SKC-owned copper foil producer.

Samsung C&T recently completed a 118-story skyscraper, called Merdeka 118, in Kuala Lumpur, the world’s second-tallest building. Samsung Engineering has also joined the Sarawak hydropower project there since November last year.