South Korean chipmaker Samsung is looking to push its proprietary Exynos mobile processors onto rival OEMs, including Chinese manufacturer ZTE.
Samsung LSI's head, Inyup Kang, told Reuters that the company is "talking to all OEMs".
ZTE has recently been subject to a trade ban from the US, meaning it can no longer use chips made by Qualcomm.
That has created urgency for ZTE to diversify its suppliers, analysts said, although attempts to resolve the issue have picked up some pace after U.S. President Donald Trump pledged on Sunday to help ZTE "get back into business, fast". Samsung also clarified that no deal is reached and all OEMs are treated equally. Since the smartphone market is slowing down, Samsung is also hoping to start delivering 5G chips to the automotive industry, with Reuters reporting Audi is going to become its first client.
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Samsung's System LSI business saw a 27 percent rise in shipments past year, Counterpoint says. Now it looks like another Chinese company - the smartphone giant ZTE mobiles. He stated that the company is in discussion with "multiple automobile companies" to develop chips for autonomous driving, but did not name the vehicle makers.
System LSI still uses Samsung's foundry for all of its manufacturing needs for now, but Mr. Kang added that the business is in talks with other contract manufacturers to diversify production in areas Samsung's foundry isn't prepared for yet, such as high-voltage automotive products.
Currently Samsung, which is the world's smartphone manufacturer, is also the world largest semiconductor based microprocessor chipset manufacturer in the world.
In recent years, Samsung's semiconductor business has been one of the major profit generators for the company, even surpassing Intel last year in terms of volume.