Samsung mulls establishing US plant for home appliance

Seo Byung-sam, head of the Samsung Electronics home appliance unit, with the new FlexWash washing machine at the firm’s office in southern Seoul, Thursday. / Courtesy of Samsung Electronics

By Lee Min-hyung

Samsung Electronics is considering building a home appliances plant in the United States to make home appliances, a high-ranking executive said Thursday.

“We are in internal talks to build a plant there, as part of our plan to secure a mid- to long-term strategic foothold,” Seo Byung-sam, head of the home appliance unit, said at the launch of a new washing machine. “We will make the details public after making specific decisions.”

The remark comes in response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s growing calls for non-American manufacturers to invest more in his country. On Monday, White House National Trade Council director Peter Navarro stepped up criticism of Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics, calling their lack of U.S. plants “trade cheating.”

LG Electronics recently confirmed a plan to build a washing machine factory in Tennessee. But Samsung has not released its final stance on building plants in the U.S.

Samsung supplies the American market with TVs, refrigerators and washing machines made at its Mexico plants. In the U.S., the company runs a chip plant.

Innovative 3-door washer

The company unveiled its new three-door FlexWash laundry machine at the launch, that combines top- and front-loads into one.

“The FlexWash will help us continue our innovation in the washer industry, which is divided into the top-load and drum types,” Seo said. “User experiences are as important as technological progress and innovation. We are confident that the new washing machine will bring a paradigm shift in the existing washer industry.”

The machine was introduced at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, grabbing attention for its premium design and innovative combination of the two functions.

Samsung Electronics has added an internet of things (IoT) feature to the new washing machine, allowing users to monitor and control the laundry process via their smartphones. In particular, the company promoted its intelligent remote-control service that enables the machine to report on its condition.

The FlexWash comes with a price tag of between 2.3 million won ($2,000) and 2.7 million won, depending on load capacity.

Samsung plans to equip all its home appliance lineups with the Wi-Fi-based intelligent remote-control service.

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