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Samsung knocks on Chinese market again with Galaxy S9

Posted March. 08, 2018 08:09,   

Updated March. 08, 2018 08:09


Samsung Electronics, which has been suffering from poor sales in the Chinese smartphone market in the fourth quarter of 2017 with market share of around 1 percent, is tapping the Chinese premium smartphone market once more with its Galaxy S9 series.

Samsung Electronics held an event to promote its launch of the Galaxy S9 series in Guangzhou, China on Tuesday. The event, held at the Haixinsha Stadium where the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games took place, was attended by some 2,500 guests from Chinese partner companies and media.

Samsung has seen its market share in China wane since the launch of the Galaxy S5 in 2014. “Sales suffered partly because the Galaxy S5 didn’t quite meet up to market expectations, but also due to the Chinese government’s support to domestic companies such as Huawei and Xiaomi since 2014,” said an industry insider.

Samsung acquired a mere 1.7 percent share in the Chinese smart phone market in the fourth quarter last year, according to global research company Strategy Analytics. Annual sales also dropped to 10.9 million units, only half of 2016 figures of 23.6 million. Currently, Chinese players including Huawei, Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi are dominating more than half of the market. Apple still holds a significant share in the premium market, but the iPhone is not as popular as it once was.

Such situations have led to speculations that Samsung may reduce mobile operations in China. Contrary to such anticipations, however, Ko Dong-jin, president of Samsung’s IT and Mobile (IM) unit, emphasized Samsung’s localization strategies and strong commitment to the Chinese market in his keynote address at the event.

Samsung has launched a Chinese version of Bixby, its own artificial intelligence service, since November last year, in addition to its Korean and English versions. The Korean tech giant is currently operating some 3,500 stores across China.

“Apple has aggressively marketed the Chinese market over the recent years, to the extent that Apple CEO Tim Cook has described as excessive,” said a business official. “It appears that Samsung is also taking an aggressive approach with the launch of the Galaxy S9.”

Ji-Hyun Kim jhk85@donga.com