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Samsung devises strategy for India’s 4G surge

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New Delhi: Despite an export-ready factory at Noida for smartphones, Samsung India now wants to focus on the domestic market, where it is growing faster than the overall industry, anticipating a surge in demand for 4G devices in the near term, a top company official has said.

The company that claims 150,000 outlets in India is also looking at consolidating this network.

“We have already launched 17 devices this year. We also launched our 15th 4G LTE device. We want to be ready for the consumers as soon as 4G spreads in the market. We have devices in all price bands,” said Asim Warsi, vice-president of IT and mobile marketing, Samsung India.

“We are a full-range player. We are looking to deploy more devices in the second half of this year,” Warsi told IANS, adding Samsung was looking at working with several operators in the 4G space. “We are also looking to expand and consolidate our retail, service outlets.”

He said Samsung has been manufacturing in India since 2007 and its Noida facility was an “export-ready” one that can be quickly turned around to ship devices abroad. “We have exported from Noida before. But in smartphones, we are currently looking at the growing demand in India.”

Quoting the German market research firm GfK — which analyses retail sales in cities with 50,000-plus population — the top Samsung official said the India vertical for smartphones had grown faster than the industry rate of 20 percent year-on-year.

“This growth is largely fuelled by consumers switching from feature phones to smartphones. Even for us, the focus has always been on the needs of Indian consumers. This has helped us not only in maintaining a dominant position but also to widen the gap with rivals.”

While Samsung relies on GfK data, other research firms like International Data Corp and Gartner maintain that the South Korean giant has seen its market share drop. But it remains in the top spot in smartphones.

While GfK says Samsung has a 40-percent market share, IDC and Gartner put it at 23 percent. Both also maintain that India’s homegrown handset-maker Micromax — recently became the 10th largest smartphone vendor in the world — was eating into Samsung’s share in India.

Neverthelesss, Warsi said Samsung has also been investing heavily in research and development in India and that India was now one of the top three markets for the company. Samsung has three R&D facilities, one designing plant and two manufacturing units in India.