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South Korean Tech Giant Samsung to Spur Innovation as Biz Challenges Rise

Samsung said earlier this week it will announce the updated schedule “in the coming weeks”, without elaborating

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To get ahead in the fast-changing tech industry, Samsung said it will expand investment in burgeoning tech segments to propel growth. Wikimedia Commons

Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong has called for senior executives to spur efforts to develop innovative technologies to tackle rising business challenges and foster new growth drivers, the company has said.

Lee, the de facto leader of the South Korean tech giant, held a meeting with senior executives of the IT and mobile division at the Suwon headquarters, south of Seoul, on Friday to discuss global strategies.

The global strategy meeting, which is held twice a year, has drawn keen attention as Samsung is faced with business challenges from the weak memory chip and handset business and uncertainties from a trade war between the US and China, Yonhap new agency reported on Sunday.

During the meeting, Lee called for the company officials to spur efforts to develop new technologies, including the 6G mobile network, blockchain and Artificial Intelligence and to expand global partnerships.

“We have to make bold investments for the future regardless of any changes in the business environment,” Lee was quoted as saying in a press release.

“No company can guarantee they will be around 10 years from now,” Lee said. “We have to have a mindset of starting new businesses, beyond resting on what we’ve achieved so far.”

samsung, tablet folded phone
The new Samsung S10 phones are displayed Feb. 20, 2019, in San Francisco. Samsung is hailing the 10th anniversary of its first smartphone with three new models that it hopes reverses a sales slump in an industry recycling the same ideas. VOA

His meeting with the handset division executives came two weeks after having a separate gathering with senior officials of the semiconductor and display business as the company was assessing the ripple effect from the US decision to put a ban on Chinese tech giant Huawei.

The world’s largest smartphone maker has grappled with slowing growth in the premium smartphone market, while losing a market share in the low-end and mid-tier segment to cost-effective Chinese makers.

According to industry tracker Strategy Analytics, Samsung shipped 71.8 million units of smartphones, or 21.7 per cent of the total, in the January-March period, with its market share falling 8 per cent from a year earlier.

Also Read- TikTok Launches ‘Device Management’ Feature for Safety of Users in India

Although the company tried to boost demand in the high-end market with its Galaxy Fold priced at $1,950, its April launch schedule has been constantly pushed back without further notice over durability issues.

Early reviewers pointed out that the device’s protective screen layer was easy to peel off and gaps made it easy for debris to damage the foldable display. Samsung said earlier this week it will announce the updated schedule “in the coming weeks”, without elaborating. (IANS)

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Innovation and Startup Culture Thriving in Ghana

Ghana is seeing a spurt in Innovation & Technology

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A worker using his innovation inside Nelson Boateng's Nelplast Factory
Inside Nelson Boateng's Nelplast Factory in the outskirts of Accra, Ghana, a worker creates bricks from recycled plastic and sand. VOA

ACCRA – Ghana is regarded as a West African hub of invention, with growing numbers of young people looking at local solutions to local problems.  In December, Ghana is hosting two conferences on innovation and technology.

Alhassan Baba Muniru, co-founder of the Recycle Up company, wants to clean up the natural environment in Ghana.

But he also wants to educate, empower and support young people to pursue conservation – and to make money while doing it.

At the December Innovation Africa summit in Accra, he plans to advocate for more support for young inventors, especially those looking to do green business.

“Even while we are in school we are already entrepreneurial so, for me, I can be able to do a formal job but the freedom of being able to bring my own ideas into action and really take charge of doing something practical and something which also makes society better – it’s much more fulfilling,” said Muniru.

Alhassan Baba Muniro talking about Innovation
Alhassan Baba Muniro wants to clean up and create jobs for young people. VOA

Part of Recycle Up’s work includes collecting plastic from schools to sell to people like Nelson Boateng, whose company mixes it with sand to create bricks.

Muniru and Boateng walk through the factory in the outskirts of Accra, where plastic from across the city is shredded, melted, mixed and then molded into bricks to be used for roads, pavements and buildings.

Boateng, who also manufactures plastic bags, said the bricks are his way of helping to clean up the environment and to provide jobs.

But while Ghana is seeing a spurt in innovation, he said the country needs a lot more infrastructure to support environmentally-friendly business.

“For innovations in Ghana, it’s very, very difficult if you don’t really have the heart.  You will lose hope because honestly speaking when I was doing my polybag that is polluting the environment, I was having a lot of money.  I have money, there wasn’t any problem. When I started this, when you go to the bank they don’t know this, they want something that the money will be flowing, not something you people don’t know –  and not something you say you are trying to save the environment, nobody will mind you on that,” he said.

Supporting local technology startups is expected to be discussed at another December conference in Accra – the second annual Ghana Tech Summit.

ALSO READ: India: Innovation Holds the Key to Job Crisis.

Ghanaian inventor Andrew Quao is working to ease the burden on hospitals with technology that allows pharmacies to diagnosis and monitor chronic and tropical diseases.

Andrew Quao, Co-founder of 'Red Birds' helps in innovation and startup.
Andrew Quao, Co-founder of healthcare tech startup ‘Red Birds’ works with pharmacies across Ghana. VOA

He said African healthcare sectors like Ghana’s are ripe for innovative solutions.

“I think it is growing in the right direction, I think the climate is good, you have got a good mix of local talent and experience and expats coming in and seeing Ghana as a good point to start, so that also works.  We have the ‘brain gain.’ The diasporans – people like myself who schooled in the U.S. – coming back and trying to bring innovations in country,” said Quao.

While both public and private sectors are backing innovation, entrepreneurs hope to see a swell of support from the Innovation Africa and Ghana Tech summits. (VOA)