Samsung’s AI Moment Is Here, but Is It Ready?

The introduction of ChatGPT has lit a fire under the shares of companies that produce microchips, the brains of artificial intelligence. Bets on the potential of so-called generative A.I. have poured in. The most eye-catching example of the rally is Silicon Valley’s Nvidia, the top seller of chips used in artificial intelligence, whose shares are up nearly 200 percent this year.

Samsung Electronics, the South Korean giant, is hoping to get in on the action. Widely known for its consumer products, Samsung also has the world’s largest memory chip business and the second-busiest semiconductor foundries, which build custom microchips for other companies.

Foreign investors have bought $8 billion worth of Samsung shares this year on the South Korean stock market — already the largest amount of foreign purchases in Samsung for any year since 2000, according to data provided by CLSA, an investment firm in Hong Kong. The surge reversed a sell-off over the previous three years, when foreign investors sold more of the company’s stock than they bought.

At an event in California last week, Samsung detailed what it called its “vision in the A.I. era.” Samsung believes it can snatch market share from the leading chip manufacturer, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, but recently the trend has gone the other way. According to Counterpoint Research, a market research firm, TSMC enjoys roughly 60 percent of total revenues in the global foundry business and Samsung only 13 percent — a gap that has widened since 2021 as some of Samsung’s customers, including Nvidia, have shifted their business to TSMC.

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