South Korea’s tech giant Samsung Electronics Co. will revive its reputation and place in the Chinese smartphone market with the latest flagship Galaxy S8 series by proving unrivalled mobile experience, the company’s mobile chief said on Thursday.
“China has been a key market for Samsung Electronics over the last quarter of a century” said Koh Dong-jin, president of Samsung Electronics’ mobile communications business. “The Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus will provide the best mobile experience to Chinese consumers and help [Samsung] become the most beloved brand.”
Koh was speaking at a showcase event of its flagship Galaxy S8 series in Beijing on Thursday where about 1,000 local partners and media officials attended. The event - held outside with the Simatai Great Wall in the background - started out with a video presenting Samsung Electronics’ strong will to rebuild its brand in the Chinese market.
Ever since China became the world’s largest smartphone market in 2012, many global smartphone manufacturers including Samsung Electronics have been putting out efforts to grab the hearts and minds of local consumers and expand their market share. Last year, a total of 474.8 million smartphones were sold in the populous country.
Over recent years, however, Samsung Electronics, has been losing its place in the market due to fast advance by local rivals.
According to market research company Strategy Analytics (SA), Samsung Electronics accounted for only 5 percent of China’s smartphone market last year, which is strikingly low from previous years. In 2013, Samsung Electronics had the largest market share of 19.7 percent in China - however, in the following year, sales started to decline and market share fell to 13.8 percent and even more to 7.6 percent in 2015.
Even in the first quarter of this year, Samsung Electronics shipped only 3.4 million units of its smartphones to China, which is almost half of what it had delivered in the first three months of last year. Sluggish sales has led the Korean company to see a sharp drop in its market share from 6.7 percent in the first quarter of last year to 3.1 percent this year to rank dismal eighth in the Chinese market.
Samsung Electronics is hoping that its latest flagship Galaxy S8 series soon to be backed by Chinese-language digital assistant will revive its brand power in the Chinese market. As part of efforts to lure consumers, the company has introduced an exclusive model for China that come in maple gold color and is loaded with 6 gigabyte random access memory (RAM). The company will be offering its new virtual assistant Bixby in Chinese as the third language to support the feature in its latest flagship series in addition to Korean and English. Samsung Electronics plans to partner with China’s online service providers to allow consumers do a virtual search of major locations, images, and shopping information through Bixby.
Samsung Electronics began receiving pre-orders for the Galaxy S8 series in China from May 10. Official sale will begin on May 25. The Galaxy S8 is priced 5,688 yuan ($825.2) in China while Galaxy S8 Plus 6,188 yuan, and Galaxy S8 Plus with 6GB memory 6,988 yuan.
By Seo Dong-cheol
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]