Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Samsung sees mobile market down 8-9 percent in 2009

Pin It LONDON (June 22 2009): Samsung hopes mobile phone sales will fall only 8 to 9 percent this year across the industry, slightly less than its previous expectation of a fall of 10 percent, as the global economy begins to recover.
The head of sales and marketing at Samsung's mobile division said the company was still working on the widely held assumption that handset sales would decline about 10 percent, but wider economic recovery might lift that figure a little. "In the second half I do not see any special surge in demand. However, there is a small sign of recovery of the general economy. Hopefully, the mobile industry also will recover some," Lee Donjoo told Reuters in an interview.

"We're focusing on around 10 percent lower. I'm expecting a little less, eventually - minus 9, minus 8, hopefully." Lee was speaking as Samsung, the world's second-biggest handset maker, unveiled a new touch-screen phone it hopes will deliver smartphone-like Internet usability - helping carriers drive data revenues - for an affordable price.

The "Jet" - launched at events around the world including in London - features full touchscreen capability, a next-generation ultra-bright AM-OLED display screen and an improved processor to deliver speedy mobile Internet access.

Lee said Samsung would try to maintain profit margins at current levels but the task was becoming harder. Samsung's telecom unit posted a 12 percent margin in the first quarter.

"Margins are getting tougher and tougher," he said. "We do our best to equal or at least maintain what we achieved before. In Q1 we performed well, so we are trying to maintain it at around that level.

"Lee said Samsung would concentrate on smartphones - with computer-like capabilities - and other premium phones, although it would also produce touchscreen phones for the mass market. "We are all the time trying to sell more in the high end," he said. When asked which segment of the market was most difficult for Samsung, he said: "The low end, because right now price competition is quite tough.

"Asked which smartphone operating systems Samsung would focus on, Lee said the company would continue to use multiple platforms into next year, but would probably shift emphasis to Google's open-source Android software over time.

"Currently, there's a lot of talk around Android, so we will introduce the model of Android, and we are still maintaining our stance in the Microsoft Windows Mobile business." aLee said Samsung was working on a software applications store for mobile users - something Apple has launched for its iPhone with huge success - but had no further details.

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