Samsung reworks strategy to bolster play in India's mid and mass phone market

New Delhi: Korean electronics major Samsung has "changed" its strategy for the mass and mid-price phones to bring in innovation across its smartphone range and not limit them to premium flagships, Samsung mobile chief DJ Koh on Wednesday said.

Samsung, which counts India as one of its key markets, is also betting big on 5G and Internet of Things (IoT) to drive the next phase of growth for the company that is locked in an intense battle for market leadership in the Indian smartphone market with China's Xiaomi.

"In the flagship models, we are quite strong and dominant in the Indian market but in mid and mass segment, the competition is very hard...that is the reason, earlier this February, I changed the strategy," Koh told reporters here.

He explained that previously, the strategy was to bring the technology of flagship models (which are also premium in terms of pricing) to mid and mass categories but now that has been "totally changed".

Representational image. Reuters.

Representational image. Reuters.

"This October-December, we will launch new products which will be differentiated in features, functions and technologies, regardless of whether (these are) flagship or not," he said adding that the company is also engaging extensively with its distributor partners in India.

The electronics major on Wednesday also unveiled its latest flagship 'Note 9' in India. The handset which was launched in New York earlier this month will be priced Rs 67,900 onwards and shipping will begin from 24 August.

Koh said he is also excited about the opportunities that deployment of 5G will bring in.

"When 5G comes...we will need to look at the smartphone business differently. 'Smart things' will be at the centre when 5G comes into play...we are very excited about the 5G era," he said.

Koh also talked about the company's engagement with the government and other partners in India in areas like smart cities, education and healthcare and said the intent is to "not just be a global company operating in India, but to be an Indian company".

Acknowledging that there is intense competition in the Indian market, Koh said the company "isn't just waiting and watching" but is aggressively working to offer the best products --packed with India-relevant innovation -- to customers here.

India, which is among the largest smartphone markets globally, is also a fiercely competitive one. The mass and mid-price range devices account for the lion's share of the market.

According to research firm IDC, smartphone shipments grew 20 percent to 33.5 million units in the June quarter 2018 in India. The tally was led by Xiaomi with shipment of 10 million units and 29.7 percent share, followed by Samsung 23.9 percent share (8 million units) and Vivo with 12.6 percent share (4.2 million units).

However, a Counterpoint Research report for the same quarter pegged Samsung as the leader with 29 percent share of the Indian smartphone market, followed by Xiaomi with 28 percent share.


Updated Date: Aug 22, 2018 18:37 PM

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