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Samsung fears if it 'takes a nap, it will die'

Earlier this year, Samsung stunned tech enthusiasts by showing off a working, production-ready device with a foldable display.

, ET Bureau|
Mar 07, 2019, 09.25 AM IST
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New Delhi: Samsung Electronics expects to regain the No. 1 position in India’s smartphone market, counting on the innovation in its latest range of devices and a change in its sales strategy.

“We may have dropped to second place in terms of number of devices shipped, but we are still dominant when it comes to revenues,” DJ Koh, president of IT & mobile business at Samsung, said at an event to launch the flagship Galaxy S10 series in India on Wednesday. “We do want to get back to the No. 1 spot in terms of volumes and we’ll do that by embracing a broad range of customer needs. We’re particularly counting on the M series for that.”

Samsung yielded the top spot in the coveted Indian market to Xiaomi in early 2018 after holding on to the position for six consecutive years. The company’s Noida manufacturing plant, started in 2007, is now the world’s largest phone factory and gives it a pricing advantage over imported devices, which attract duties.

Samsung’s approach until now has been to sell products through partner re-sellers, but that tactic is evolving, as seen in its M series, which includes the entry-level M10 model.

“We changed strategy a little with the M series by making it an online-only product but our partners didn’t complain. The market is changing and everyone has to adapt,” Koh said.

Koh was quick to point out that competition is always harsh.

“In India, some competitors are faster than us and they might be better accepted. But we’re going to change with the times, too. I always say if I take a nap, I will die. So I’m not going to be caught napping. We have a long history of manufacturing and a lot of experience in overseas markets. We see this as a competitive advantage compared to some of the newer players,” Koh said.

Earlier this year, Samsung stunned tech enthusiasts by showing off a working, production-ready device with a foldable display. Koh confirmed that the Galaxy Fold would be brought to India.

“Why would we not deliver our newest technological innovation to our most important market? Folding displays are a very niche and we’re looking to grow the market for these in the next two to three years. They won’t take over the single screen devices, though,” he said. “People still want bigger and bigger screens but in a manageable size. Therefore, a folding screen is the next step.”

Samsung is ready for 5G networks, which will offer faster download speeds and lower latency. When operators are ready with 5G networks, Samsung would support all frequencies, said Koh.

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