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Samsung arrives on Apple’s doorstep as it breaks ground on new R&D facility

samsung campus 1A month after opening a new research and development facility in the shadow of Nokia’s head office in Finland, Samsung is today breaking ground on a new campus just down the street from Apple’s Silicon Valley base. The Korean company currently has only a relatively small presence in the area.

Following in the footsteps of Apple, Facebook and Amazon, who also have plans for ultra-modern offices, the Korean company’s San Jose campus will cover 1.1 million square feet with the main building comprising 10 floors, including, says Samsung, “two partially open-air floors above ground that allow employees to be outdoors within the building.”

Designed by renowned architecture firm NBBJ – which is also responsible for the design of Amazon’s forthcoming Seattle-based HQ – the futuristic-looking facility, which will house around 2,000 workers, is designed to be energy efficient.

NBBJ elaborates on its website: “A rooftop solar array on the parking garage will provide renewable energy; the tower’s façade is designed to reduce solar heat gain, which reduces energy costs related to cooling a building; clear glass will allow natural light deep into the floorplate; and trees and water features provide connections to the environment.”

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The campus, due to open in 2015, will also include a star-shaped cafeteria, rain gardens, a lawn garden, courts for basketball and badminton, and a parking garage. Some of the facilities will be open to the public.

Jim Elliot, Samsung’s vice president of memory marketing, said on the tech giant’s website that his company was starting to outgrow many of its facilities, causing it to look at new locations around the world.

“Clearly, a critical part of our expanding identity needs to be housed in the US,” Elliot said, adding, “We looked at Silicon Valley and states beyond California as possibilities, but when all was said and done, we selected Silicon Valley as a much larger home base for housing some of the best minds in the country.”

Expanding its presence in Silicon Valley will allow Samsung to compete with Apple and other tech companies in the area for the same employees.

Speaking earlier this year, Young Sohn, Samsung’s chief strategy officer, said of the company’s move into the area, “This is the epicenter of disruptive forces and I want to make sure we’re part of those disruptions.”

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Samsung has been splashing the cash globally recently on the construction of a number of new R&D facilities. Last month the tech company established an R&D presence in northern Europe with the opening of a facility in the Finnish city of Espoo – the exact same place where Nokia, once the king of the mobile market – has its head office.

And just last week Samsung said it would be investing $4.5 billion in the construction of five new R&D centers in its home country, including a cutting-edge design research facility for 10,000 designers, software developers and strategists to be built in Seoul.

Samsung’s R&D network currently employs more than 40,000 people at 26 centers in 11 countries. In 2012, the company spent $10.4 billion on research and development, the most it’s ever spent on R&D in a single year.

[Images: Samsung]