Samsung leads smartphone market

South Korean electronics giant Samsung has cornered 50 percent of the smart phone market, an increase of more than 30 percent compared to its 2011 market share, company executives said in a press conference on Wednesday.

"Today Samsung became number one in the Egyptian market, dominating 40 percent of the mobile phones market and 50 percent of the smart phones market during 2012 alone, which confirms our consistent growth in Egypt," said Wael Zain, Samsung product manager.

In the future, Zain said the company would focus on offering more affordable options. Smartphones, with prices usually well over LE1,000, still remain out of reach for many Egyptians.

The company's 2013 strategy would focus on increasing the range of hand held products to offer low/medium priced android enabled smart phones, in addition to increasing its range of high-end products, Zain said.

In 2013, Samsung will launch its new touch wide screen range-REX Series, as well as its upgraded instant messaging flagship application, ChatON 2.0.

Sherif Barakat, head of Samsung's Hand Held Products Division, said the high exchange rate between the dollar and the Egyptian pound has made it difficult for the company to keep its mobile products affordable.

The increasing exchange rate is a worrying issue for the entire industry, he said. In Samsung's case, because most devices come from Korea and are paid for in dollars, the company has had to pay more to bring is products into the country.  For the time being, Samsung has been absorbing this price increase, so as to not pass it on to the consumer, Barakat explained.

Earlier this month, Mobinil's Chief Operating Officer Yves Gauthier told Egypt Independent that all mobile phone and mobile services companies are likely to raise prices soon.

“With the exchange rate of the pound, if you are not able to increase revenue, you cannot provide the same services,” he said at a Mobinil press conference.  “At a certain moment, you have to increase your revenue.”

In the press conference, executives also said that plans are moving forward to build a TV production factory in the southern governorate of Beni Suef, according to a September agreement signed with the government.

The plant would cost US$1.7 billion, and will be the company's first factory in the Middle East, executives said.

“Beni Suef is one of the poorest districts of Upper Egypt, and putting development of the area in mind, we at Samsung chose this district … to set up operations and create much-needed jobs,” said Barakat.

The first phase of the project is expected to begin June.

Barakat asserted that the factory would be producing Samsung TV sets, not just assembling them, which is a step forward for the country.

Though the nation has a strong manufactoring sector, most output are either mostly produced abroad and assembled here, or have components that are imported.

"We are turning from the phase of replicating technology to producing it here in Egypt,” Barakat said.

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