Samsung Electronics on Friday said it is in talks to acquire a stake in Chinese automaker BYD to boost its chip business for electric cars.

In December, Samsung Electronics, the world's top maker of smartphones and memory chips, created a team to develop automotive-related businesses, seeking a new growth engine as the global smartphone industry is slowing, Reuters reported.

"The latest investment aims at strengthening electric vehicle parts and smartphone parts businesses for the two companies," Samsung said in a statement cited by the news agency.

"We plan to discuss cooperation in various businesses going forward."

Samsung said it has not finalised how much it would spend to buy the stake, nor how big a holding it would take in BYD, which specialises in electric vehicles and is backed by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway.

Reuters said the Korea Economic Daily reported earlier on Friday that Samsung agreed to buy new shares worth KRW3bn (US$449m) in BYD which would give Samsung a 4% stake in the automaker.

BYD confirmed in a stock exchange filing that Samsung Electronics had participated in their non-public issuance but did not disclose the amount of its investment as the offering had yet to close. The automaker, however, denied Samsung Electronics would buy a 4% stake as reported in the Korea Economic Daily, Reuters added.

Shares in the electronics firm's affiliate Samsung SDI jumped more than 8% in early trading in Seoul on hopes that it might be in line to supply electric vehicle batteries to BYD.

But Samsung denied that battery supply was part of the BYD tie-up, Reuters added.