Smartphones, tablets to be growth drivers this year

Written by Sohini Mitter | Nikita Upadhyay | Nikita Upadhyay | Updated: Feb 7 2011, 15:33pm hrs
With a strong growth seen in the consumer electronics and mobile handsets space, Samsung is poised to make India its export hub. It plans to be a $10-billion company by 2013 and intends to expand its retail presence in India through multi-brand outlets.

J S Shin, president & CEO, Samsung South West Asia, talks to FEs Nikita Upadhyay and Sohini Mitter about the companys India plans.

How is Indias mobile device space evolving

The consumers focus has shifted to device software, leading to the popularity of smartphones. But touch phones and tabs are here to stay as well. Devices like Samsung Galaxy Tab have bridged the gap between smartphones and PCs. Weve already sold 1 million tabs globally and are targeting a 40% share of the Indian tablet market. We expect smartphones and tablets to be the major growth drivers for Samsung Mobile in 2011.

What is Samsungs core business strategy for the Indian market

India contributes about 2.5% of Samsungs global revenues. Were poised to lead the Indian market with differentiated products like smart TV, smartphones and tablets. Last year, we strengthened our dual SIM portfolio considerably and maintained our leadership in the touchscreen segment with 36% market share as per GFK. This year, we plan product introductions across different mobile segments. Were currently engaging with 290 developers in India, for development of applications on bada platform, that reflects Indian consumer preferences.

What opportunities does 3G provide in India

With the roll out of 3G services, the company expects a strong boost to the smartphone segment. We're well positioned to take advantage of 3G, both from the devices side and through collaboration with telecom operators. Currently, Samsung offers Indian consumers a wide portfolio of 14 3G-enabled handsets across price points ranging from Rs 8,199 to Rs 29,299.

How has the consumer durables segment grown Which have been your best-selling products

The growth drivers in the consumer durables segment in FY11 were flat panel TVs, ACs and refrigerators. In the flat panel TV business, we created a new segment in the market by launching 3D TVs and registered a strong growth in our LED TV sales. In the AC and refrigerator segments, the premium categories were split ACs and frost-free refrigerators, which contributed to 70% of total AC sales and 35% of total refrigerator sales respectively.

What is Samsungs retail strategy

Were looking at expanding our presence in the market through a mix of our own brand stores, multi brand outlets (MBOs) as well as spreading the network of large format retail. Our own brand stores will draw synergies across product groups, to showcase Samsungs innovative product portfolio. We will also be relying on MBOs to reach out to consumers across the non-metro/semi-urban markets, which are fast maturing into a great base for consumer electronic product sales.

What percentage of revenue is spent on R&D

Samsung has two dedicated research units in India, employing over 5,000 people. The company spends 8% of its global sales in R&D processes to foster innovation.

Teams at Samsung India Software Operations (SISO) work on Android and Linux platforms, browsers and wireless communication protocols.