Samsung is buying a stake in a Chinese car maker

The BYD deal is an admission that smartphones are no longer hot stuff.

Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji

Now that the smartphone market is cooling off, Samsung needs another way to keep raking in cash... and it's going in an unusual direction to make that happen. The tech giant is buying a stake in Chinese automaker BYD that, at least at first, will help boost the two companies' businesses in parts for electric cars and smartphones. What's next may be more important, however. Samsung says that the two will talk about possible partnerships in "various businesses" -- don't be surprised if they work closely together.

Samsung has yet to reveal the size of the stake (BYD shot down rumors that it was 4 percent), so it's not certain just how much of a commitment it's making. Suffice it to say that the company stands to profit if everything goes to plan, though. The electric car market is quickly heating up, and Samsung could ride the bandwagon by supplying BYD with everything from batteries to processors. As it stands, Samsung might not want to sit on the sidelines when its big rival Apple is reportedly designing an EV of its own.