Wed, Jul 07, 2004 - Page 10 News List

Samsung Electronics eyes digital sector

SNAP HAPPY The South Korean company's digital-camera affiliate believes a host of new models will help it compete with its larger Japanese rivals in the world market

By Lisa Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

South Korean electronics giant Samsung Electronics Co is gearing up to grab a larger share of the global digital-camera market this year by launching almost triple the number of new models as last year, a company official said yesterday.

"This year the total world market is expected to be 65 million pieces, and Samsung will have a 5 percent share," said James Jin, a senior manager of Samsung Techwin Co, a digital-camera affiliate of Samsung Electronics.

"Samsung, though a latecomer in the imaging market is learning very fast and growing more rapidly than the market itself," he told reporters in Taipei.

Samsung Techwin plans to unveil more than 15 new models this year, Jin said, up from six models last year.

Samsung Electronics is the only South Korea manufacturer of digital cameras, a sector dominated by Japanese makers such as Olympus Corp, Sony Corp and Canon Inc.

"Samsung's aggressive move will be a boon for local digital-camera manufacturers in light of their close cooperation," said Lu Chia-lin (呂家霖), an analyst with Yuanta Core Pacific Securities (元大京華證券).

Samsung Techwin's local major suppliers include Ability Enterprise Co (佳能), Primax Electronics Ltd (致伸) and Minton Optic Industry Co (明騰), according to Taipei-based market researcher Market Intelligence Center (MIC, 市場情報中心).

Premier Image Technology Corp (普立爾), the country's largest digital-camera maker, also has close ties with Samsung Techwin, the center said.

In other developments, Ability Enterprise shares rose 6.1 percent to NT$22.5 on the TAIEX yesterday on the news that it had received a new batch of orders from Samsung Electronics and Japan's Matsushita Electric Industrial Co.

Ability Enterprise could not be reached for comments.

Taiwanese manufacturers, who supply more than a third of the world's digital cameras, are expected to increase shipments by 37 percent to around 23.35 million units this year, compared to 16.93 million units last year, according to MIC's projections.

Samsung Techwin also aims to strengthen its local market position in collaboration with its partners.

"We hope to boost our local market share to 8 percent this year by offering more choices, at more affordable prices," said Chen Si-lo (陳喜樂), president of Dan Fwu Trading Co (丹福貿易), a national distributor of South Korean-made electronics.

Last year Samsung took 5.26 percent of the nation's digital-camera market -- which is dominated by Japanese brands -- by selling 40,000 units.

Chen said they hope to more than double sales to 84,000 cameras this year.

In an effort to revamp Samsung's image as a maker of high-priced handsets and flat screens, Dan Fwu plans to offer 20-percent discount on most Samsung digital cameras, Chen said.

The latest model, Samsung V50, a 5-megapixel camera, will retail for NT$15,900 at the annual Taipei Computer Entertainment & Multimedia Show, about 15 percent less than its usual NT$18,900 price tag.

The trade show will run opens Friday and runs to Monday.

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