Samsung eyes high-end market

AIMING HIGH:: Samsung hopes to lead the Taiwanese market this year, with a sales target of US$200 million, the company’s Taiwan branch president Smile Kim said

By Elizabeth Tchii  /  STAFF REPORTER

Tue, Feb 17, 2009 - Page 12

Samsung Electronics Co, the world’s second-largest handset maker by market share behind Finland’s Nokia Oyj, will focus on high-end customers this year because high-end phones are more profitable, a company official said yesterday.

“While units [shipments] are important, even more important is the value of each handset unit. Samsung will focus on mid to high-end phones this year to drive up revenues as we see higher margins associated with high-end phones,” Smile Kim, president of Samsung Electronics’ Taiwan branch, yesterday said.

Samsung expects to ship 200 million units worldwide this year, compared with last year’s 196.6 million units.

But Kim said he saw an increase in rush orders for dynamic random access memory (DRAM) from Samsung’s memory chip department and believed that signs point to a “warming up” in downstream technology business.

In Taiwan, Samsung hopes to lead the market this year, with a sales target of US$200 million, Kim said.

Research by US-based Strategy Analytics Inc shows the global handset market grew 4.9 percent in shipment volume to 1.18 billion units last year, from 1.12 billion units.

Nokia and Samsung claimed the top two spots last year with a market share of 39.8 percent and 16.7 percent, respectively, on shipments of 468.4 million and 196.6 million units each, Strategy Analytics’ data showed.

Next in the rankings for mobiles by worldwide market share were LG Electronics Inc, Motorola Inc and Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications Ltd, in that order.

Samsung’s handset focus this year will be on improving user-interface, promoting high-definition (HD) quality visual and sound, and introducing touch screen technology across different feature phones, Kim said.

The firm also wants to seek leadership in niche markets across product lines, such as “being No. 1 in the domestic 40-inch full HD TV category,” he said.

Ryu Jae-hyun, a director of the mobile marketing department of Samsung Electronics’ Taiwan branch, said customers would see Ultra Touch S8300 in the style category at the end of next month, as well as M7600 and M6710 in multimedia category sometime in June.

“These new models are currently on display at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona,” Ryu said at the same briefing.

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