Samsung India will hire 2,500 graduates from the country's top engineering institutes over the next three years in what is being billed as one of its largest recruitment drives to ramp up research and development talent.
"A majority of these fresh hires will be for new-age domains such as Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data and biometrics," Dipesh Shah, global senior vice president at Samsung, told ET, adding that a 1,000 engineering graduates will be absorbed this year in the company's R&D centres in Bengaluru, Noida and Delhi.
This placement season, the South Korean mobile phone and electronics major has already mopped up talent for R&D across the National Institutes of Technology (NITs) and other premier institutes such as BITS Pilani, Manipal Institute of Technology, Delhi College of Engineering and Delhi Technological University. Now, it is hiring aggressively in final placements across the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). Its recruitment offers at the IITs alone are expected to be well upwards of 300, the company said.
For Samsung, which has always invested heavily in R&D-its global spends in 2016 on the segment was about $13 billion-this year's hiring will be a 25% jump over the last year's 800-odd grads. Last year, Samsung was the top recruiter at the IITs.
"Samsung is extremely bullish on R&D in India. Our R&D centres in India work on cutting-edge technology to develop innovations that are centred on Indian customers' preferences and also contribute significantly to global products," said Shah.
"There is a large need for talent. We will be hiring across streams like computer science, electrical engineering, mathematics and computing and applied mechanics, among others."
The company's Bengaluru R&D centre is the biggest outside South Korea, where research is being done on smart devices, semiconductors, printers, modems, Internet protocols and networks. Among the core areas being worked on are artificial intelligence, machine learning, natural language processing, IoT, augmented reality and networks including 5G in Bengaluru, and biometrics, mobile software development, multimedia and data security in Noida.
Delhi works primarily on research related to high-end televisions, other consumer electronics products as well as the operating system Tizen. The three centres together employ about 8,000 workers.
Although Shah said the aggressive hiring is not driven by competition, analysts said that Samsung is definitely feeling the heat, in light of the fact that as per the latest numbers from research firm IDC, Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has caught up with it for the top spot in the Indian smartphone market.
In the third quarter of 2017, the two smartphone makers accounted for 23.5% each of the smartphone shipments in the country. The bulk of revenues for Samsung are generated by smartphones.
"Samsung is retaliating in the only way one can: 'I can R&D you out,'" said Sandip Das, senior advisor of Analysys Mason, a global consulting and research firm specialising in telecoms, media and digital services.
"In this business, obsolescence comes in extremely quickly and even the smallest competitor can sometimes overtake market leaders. However, if you have a strong innovation engine, you can lead the way and destroy your own products instead of waiting for someone else: keep the cannibal in the family so to speak. That's what Samsung is doing by taking advantage of the vast pool of Indian engineering talent. In the process, it will also endear itself it to the Indian government and Indian consumer," said Das.