Samsung Moves In On Apple’s Turf As Construction Starts On Its New Silicon Valley Headquarters

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Samsung will break ground on its new U.S. headquarters in San Jose this week. Designed by architecture firm NBBJ, the new campus is part of Samsung’s aggressive effort to build a more significant presence closer to rivals like Apple and Google. Due to be completed in 2015 at a cost of $300 million, the building will house 2,000 employees. When finished, the 10-story-tall building will stand alongside the eye-catching headquarters planned by other tech companies, including Apple’s “spaceship” campus in Cupertino and Facebook’s Frank Gehry-designed expansion in Menlo Park.

Located at the intersection of North First and East Tasman Drive, Samsung’s headquarters is meant to help it carve out a more significant presence in Silicon Valley, where it plans to compete with other tech giants like Apple and Google for talent. In January, California governor Jerry Brown singled Samsung’s planned HQ in his State of the State speech, saying it “will place at least 2,500 people in high-skill, high-wage jobs.”

Its new headquarters are also part of Samsung’s efforts to establish a reputation as a technology innovator by transforming the company’s culture and strategies, which previously meant that most of its tech and products were developed internally, by partnering with tech entrepreneurs. In addition to its flagship campus, Samsung has also opened the Samsung Strategy and Innovation Center on Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park, which houses its new $100 million early-stage-capital Catalyst Fund. The company also plans to launch a startup incubator in Palo Alto near Stanford University.

In return for pumping money into Silicon Valley’s startup ecosystem, Samsung hopes that founders and engineers will become more keen on working with the South Korean tech giant. Some of the deals Samsung has recently inked with U.S. startups include the $30 million acquisition of streaming media and entertainment startup Boxee and the $22.5 million in venture capital funding raised by digital advertising company OpenX in a round led by Samsung Ventures.

Before its expansion plans, Samsung’s footprint in Silicon Valley was relatively modest, with its U.S. semiconductor headquarters located in a non-descript office building on North First Street in San Jose. Its new building, which includes two 10-story towers, an “amenity pavilion” and parking garage, is meant to “encourage interaction among staff, invite the community on campus and attract employees in the highly competitive tech market,” said architecture firm NBBJ in a statement.