Tue, Feb 22, 2005 - Page 10 News List

Samsung aims for bigger slice of the domestic market

HANDSET INDUSTRY The company plans to introduce over 30 new models this year as part of its strategy to become one of the nation's top-three cellphone vendors


Samsung Electronics Co, the world's No.2 cellphone vendor, plans to vie for a bigger piece of Taiwan's 6-million handset market by tripling its product portfolio this year, an executive said yesterday in Taipei.

"I know competition here is very intense, but Samsung will still have stable growth this year," said Y. S. Jeon, new president of Samsung Electronics' local division.

During his first public appearance yesterday after arriving in Taiwan last week, Jeon said that Samsung plans to unveil over 30 new models this year in the hope of boosting handset sales to 800,000 units.

Few Models Last Year

The South Korean mobile phone maker only rolled out 10 models last year, lagging far behind bigger rival Motorola Inc of the US, which launched 30 models.

The sales target represents a 60 percent expansion annually, versus the 500,000 mobile phones Samsung sold to local consumers last year.

With the expansion, Jeon said "we hope to squeeze into the top three players in the Taiwanese market."

A far cry from its strong global market position, Samsung only ranked seventh in Taiwan last year, with a 5 percent market share.

To succeed, Samsung will have to beat local mobile phone makers BenQ Corp (明基電通) and Inventec Appliances Corp's (英華達) handset brand OKWAP, both of which have fought over third place, after top finishers Motorola and Nokia.

The nation's two biggest domestic mobile phone makers have traditionally adopted a low-price strategy to strengthen their market position.

High-end Market

"Samsung will not join the game. Samsung can't compete with local handset makers in terms of cost. Samsung will continue to focus on the high-end segment," Jeon said.

Marty Kung (龔俊光), an analyst with market researcher the Market Intelligence Center (市場情報中心) in Taipei, said Samsung may not be able to overtake BenQ and Inventec soon.

But Samsung will gradually eat into the two phone companies' market shares due to its stronger capabilities in providing advanced 3G handsets once Taiwan launches the faster mobile transmission standard in the second half this year, he said.

BenQ and Inventec are slow in making 3G mobile phones, he said.

MIC predicts that handset demand will be flat this year from last year, at around 6.6 million units.

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