The South Korean giant, already a dominant player in the high-end smartphone segment, will launch devices in the mid-segment space this festive season with flagship features and functionalities.
Large established corporations generally tend to be slow learners; with well-defined structures and hierarchy, they are risk-averse, less-agile and resistant to adopting new business processes and accepting market realities. Samsung seems to defy this. Cheaper mobiles from Chinese brands such as Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo, OnePlus and Huawei may have seen this South Korean consumer electronics conglomerate lose market share in China and India, the world’s top smartphone markets; however, in recent months, innovations on new products and technologies has given Samsung new opportunities for growth and a distinct edge over challenger brands.
“The smartphone business is very harsh and competitive these days,” said DJ Koh, president and CEO of IT & Mobile Communications Division, Samsung Electronics, at a round table conference in New Delhi last week. “We are the dominant player in the high-end segment, but competition is very harsh in the mid and low-end segment and we are aware of the ground reality. Since early this year, I have changed my strategy for the Indian market. You will see devices coming from us in the mid-segment space with flagship features and functionalities,” he said, adding, “The fourth quarter (October-December) will see some exciting launches that will alter the course of the mid-segment market.”
In recent months, Samsung has incorporated critical changes in its overall market strategy to come back with a bang. It dominated the premium smartphone segment in India in the first half of 2018, a new report from CyberMedia Research (CMR) said last week. According to CMR India’s Mobile Handset Review report, Samsung with 48% market share was followed by Chinese smartphone player OnePlus at 25% share, and then Apple with 22% share.
According to Koh, India is the most important market for Samsung globally. “The potential to grow here is immense. We have two manufacturing factories, in Noida and Sriperumbudur, near Chennai, five R&D centres and one design centre. We have a network of over 1.5 lakh retail outlets and 3,000 customer service points,” he added.
Not just smartphones, Koh said the company is going to offer a wide range of smart devices for its evolving Indian fans. “I am building a complete ecosystem of smart devices for the millennials in India. I am very excited about the 5G era, wherein smart things – smartphones, refrigerators, cars, air conditioners – will be at the centre. By 2020, all Samsung smart devices will be connected.”
Koh was in the capital to launch the company’s most powerful Note, Galaxy Note9. The all-new Galaxy Note9 is a premium smartphone that aims to deliver superior performance with a new S Pen with remote control to easily drive presentation and take selfies, Samsung’s most intelligent camera yet, and an all-new PC-like experience with Samsung DeX and an HDMI cable. “Note fans are Samsung’s most loyal; they want it all to get the most out of work and play, and Galaxy Note9 is the only phone that can keep up with their busy lives,” said Koh.
Sales of Galaxy J8 and J6 smartphones in India have crossed 2 millions units. “Our philosophy of keeping our ears to the ground and incorporating consumer feedbacks into our products has paid off,” said Asim Warsi, senior vice-president, Samsung India. “Our recently launched Chat-over-Video feature in Infinity models has received an overwhelming response with more than 50% of consumers using it on a regular basis. Galaxy J is known for unique Make for India innovations; it now accounts for one in three smartphones sold in the country,” he added.
“Our Noida factory, the world’s largest mobile factory, is a symbol of Samsung’s strong commitment to India, and a great example of the success of the government’s ‘Make in India’ programme. Samsung is a long-term partner of India. We make in India, make for India and now we will make for the world,” Koh said.
The Noida factory, which was set up in 1996 is one of the first global electronics manufacturing facilities set up in India. With its new facility, Samsung will double its current capacity for mobile phones in Noida from 68 million units a year to 120 million units a year, in a phase-wise expansion that will be completed by 2020.
“Unlike others, Samsung is a full-range player and offers a complete range of devices. We have more to offer across the segment than any other vendor. This momentum will continue for the Indian market for the rest of the year,” reiterated a confident Warsi.