Samsung UK warns of Korean backlash

Samsung Electronics UK has claimed that Korean companies will fight back this year despite continued fears over the Far Eastern economy.

While the US credit agency Standard and Poor (S&P) warned that Korean firms "remain vulnerable", the Korean giant has warned it will "come out fighting", according to UK sales and marketing director Ali Demin.

Demin said that S&P's warning was "to be expected" but that Samsung has already downsized and re-shaped its operations.

The UK subsidiary intends to try and boost consumer confidence in the company with a number of new product launches scheduled for April.

"We've taken an aggressive posture this year and plan to win back market share in monitors in particular," said Demin. He argued that the collapse of the Korean economy has forced the company to re-focus and slim down while jolting the Korean trade unions into accepting that expensive labour was forcing companies under.

"The cost of operations in Korea is now much lower and the price of exports more competitive," added Demin. "We've trimmed the fat and we will see the effects of this filtering through into the UK in the next two to three months."

Among the planned launches in April will be a 19 inch monitor using a Samsung and not Hitachi tube. Samsung had tried to license the Hitachi 19 inch tube last year but was turned down by the Japanese manufacturer.

Product marketing manager Aaron Fright said that he believed the 19 inch would eventually kill off the 20 inch and put more pressure on the 17 inch. "Sony has already said it is expecting to cease production of 20 inch this year," said Fright.

Both Demin and Fright claimed that Samsung would aim to be number one in 17 inch this year, while the company also plans to bring out a new range of TFT screens in 14, 15 and 17 inch.