Samsung mobile chief DJ Koh
Samsung mobile chief DJ Koh

Samsung reworks strategy in mass smartphone segment

Samsung, which counts India as one of its key markets, is also betting big on 5G and Internet of Things

New Delhi: South Korean electronics major Samsung has “changed" its strategy for mass and mid-price phones to bring in innovation across its smartphone range, Samsung mobile chief DJ Koh today 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 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 tough… 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".

“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 today also unveiled its latest flagship ‘Note 9’ in India. The handset, which was launched in New York earlier this month, will be priced 67,900 onwards and shipping will begin from August 24.

Koh said he is also excited about the opportunities that the 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," he said.

Koh also talked about the company’s engagement with the government and 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. Mass and mid-price range devices account for the lion’s share of the market. According to research firm IDC, smartphone shipments grew 20% to 33.5 million in the June quarter. The tally was led by Xiaomi (10 million units and 29.7% share), followed by Samsung 23.9% share (8 million units) and Vivo with 12.6% share (4.2 million units).

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

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