Galaxy S10 is doing well in China: Samsung mobile boss

Samsung co-CEO DJ Koh says the Galaxy S10 smartphone is selling well in China and will bring about a turnaround after two years of difficulty there.
Written by Cho Mu-Hyun, Contributing Writer

Samsung's Galaxy S10 smartphone has been selling well in China and will bring about a change in fortune there for the business, the company's mobile boss said in the firm's annual shareholders meeting.

Addressing a question from a shareholder, DJ Koh, Co-CEO of Samsung Electronics and President of its IT & Mobile Communications Business, said "the past two years in the Chinese market was difficult" but the company changed "everything, from organization, people to distribution channel" which contributed to the Galaxy S10 being received well.

Koh said the mid-tier Galaxy A series was also selling well, adding that its new premium smartphone has brought about many changes in the Chinese market.

The Galaxy S10 smartphone was launched in China, the United States, South Korea, among other countries at the global launch date of March 8.

Samsung was once the largest vendor of smartphones in the world's second largest economy but ceded that spot to Xiaomi in 2015. Since then, Vivo, Oppo, and even Apple have muscled into the top spot. Due to the fall in prices of smartphones, the South Korean giant also ceded its mid-tier smartphone dominance to local rivals.

The critical blow came when Samsung was late to recall the Galaxy Note 7 from the Chinese market after the battery debacle, claiming it used a different supplier for the market there, which angered local consumers at the time. It later apologised and commenced a global recall that ended the product for good.

According to Strategy Analytics, Samsung held a mere 0.8 percent market share in smartphones in China in 2018.

Since then, DJ Koh has consistently vowed that the business would eventually return to form there. According to company insiders, senior executives in China were called back to South Korea multiple times and many senior positions were reshuffled. The regional office in China also commenced more local surveys to gather information on the market and it was shown that it was late to get on the online shopping boom bandwagon there. It began online sales, which are hugely popular there, beyond the traditional distribution channels provided by telcos that it previously relied on.

Koh also said that Samsung believed 5G will bring about an IT Renaissance and it had prepared well for the rollout of the next-generation market. Samsung has vowed to secure 20 percent market share by 2020 in 5G wireless equipment to challenge the likes of Huawei, Nokia and Ericsson.

South Korea will likely roll out its 5G commercial network in April after initial delays, with the company to launch a 5G version of the Galaxy S10 during the same month. Pre-orders are likely to start later this month.

"We are winning clients not just in South Korea but in the US, India, Europe and other countries for our wireless equipment," the mobile boss said.

While Samsung's main aim for 5G equipment is to penetrate the United States and South Korea, it is also testing the waters in the Southeast Asian market to likely challenge Huawei's dominance there, according to sources.

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