Samsung has a reputation for being a copycat. Heck, Apple is currently suing Samsung yet again for infringing five of its patents. But according to a report from Bloomberg, Samsung is looking to shed its “fast follower” image and become recognized as an innovator instead.
At a meeting of 10 of its top executives last December, the Samsung’s top brass were worried about how to survive with the rise of many low-cost competitors from China.
“Where they are today is great,” said Jenny Lee, a partner at investment firm GGV Capital in Shanghai. “But they are paranoid.”
Typically, Samsung has competed by quickly adapting to technology trends. It started making smartphones in 2009 after the success of the iPhone, and began creating tablets shortly after the iPad was announced. According to Bloomberg, this strategy has worked, as the company is now first in smartphone and TV shipments, and second in tablets.
Samsung is now entering new product categories that don’t have established successes. Last year, it released the Galaxy Gear smartwatch, which has not been successful. It hasn’t given up on wearables, though, as it has announced three new devices: the Gear 2, the Gear 2 Neo and the Gear Fit.
While Samsung may have been among the first entrants into this emerging category, Apple has been widely rumored to enter this market with an iWatch of its own.
“Samsung is the 800-pound gorilla that works harder than a startup,” said Jay Eum, a former Samsung employee. “Because they’re in a leadership position, they have to evolve. They realize that now, especially in the last two or three years, they don’t really have a roadmap to follow.”