Tue, Jul 28, 2009 - Page 12 News List

Samsung aims to be top touch phone brand

By Elizabeth Tchii  /  STAFF REPORTER

South Korean electronics maker Samsung Electronics Co said yesterday it aimed to become the No. 1 touch phone brand in Taiwan by the end of the year.

The South Korean maker currently ranks second in the Taiwanese market.

“Globally, we are already the No. 1 touch phone manufacturer with a worldwide market share of 25 percent in the first quarter of this year,” said Ryu Jae-hyun, director of the company’s mobile marketing department in Taipei.

This market dominance translates into 6.1 million touch phones sold by Samsung worldwide in the first three months of the year, with total global sales reaching 24.5 million.

In Taiwan, the South Korean firm took 12 percent of the touch phone market — the same as its smartphone market share — in the first quarter, Ryu said.

Ryu said he believed the key to dominating the local market would be to introduce lower cost 2G models without data services to reach younger consumers with lower disposable income. He said the public could expect to see Samsung 2G touch phones below the NT$8,000 (US$245) mark.

Aside from offering competitively priced phones, Samsung said other market challenges included helping consumers overcome their “phobia” to touch phones, collaborating with more telecommunications operators, raising brand awareness and targeting different market segments by offering multiple Samsung touch phone models.

“In the third quarter you will see altogether nine models of touch phones by Samsung, with a few more additional ones coming out in the fourth quarter. So this year, we will be releasing more than 10 models just in Taiwan,” Ryu said.

Ryu said Samsung’s strengths lay in its seamless vertical integration and fast turnaround, which other firms would find hard to compete with.

He added that his company was betting heavily on touch phones, accounting for more than 30 percent of its mobile phone portfolio this year.

But Ryu admitted that he and his team did not reach their projected year-on-year growth for the second quarter, although the firm’s total handset volume sales grew 10 percent domestically from April through last month, outpacing the market which posted a decline of between 5 percent and 6 percent.

“Through the evolution of cellphones, we saw the focus shifting from camera, music, data-centric Internet, GPS [global positioning system], screen quality, applications, to touch. At Samsung, we believe our future lies in touch-based handsets,” Ryu said.

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