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Samsung Gulf strikes bullish tone ahead of iPhone launch

Samsung Gulf strikes bullish tone ahead of iPhone launch

The company hopes to have a 50 per cent share of the UAE’s smartphone market by value

The Gulf division of Samsung laid down a bullish tone last month despite some gloomy global half-year figures and the imminent launch of rival Apple’s latest iPhone.

Disappointing sales of its flagship S6 and S6 edge smartphones led the manufacturer to post an 8 per cent fall in net profit in the second quarter. The decline was the company’s fifth straight year-on-year profit drop and followed a 37 per cent dip in operating profits for the company’s mobile division to KRW 2.76 trillion.

Speaking at the Gulf launch of the Note5 and Galaxy S6 edge+ devices, Samsung Gulf Electronics head of IM division Hayssan Yassine cited the region’s high purchasing power and love of technology as the reason behond the firm’s enhanced performance.

“Yes, the numbers were not as expected,” Yassine told Gulf Business. “However, in our region – the Gulf – our numbers are very positive. We’ve grown, both market share and sales growth was significant.”

He also said he expected the two new larger-screen devices to boost the firm’s market share in the region.

The company claimed 48 per cent of the United Arab Emirates smartphone market by value in June and expects to increase its share through its latest offerings.

“With the introduction of those two devices, we expect this to at least go up to 50 per cent,” he added.

The South Korean manufacturer pushed forward the launch of its latest two devices to give them more limelight ahead of Apple’s September launch. The Note5 and S6 edge+ use many of the same components and boast a similar metal and glass design. They have identical octa-core 64 bit processors, 16MP and 5MP rear and front cameras and 3,000mAh batteries. Both also come equipped with 4GB of RAM.

The key differences are in the 5.7-inch screens – with the S6 edge+ utilising a curved edge display compared to the flat design of the Note5 – and the Note line’s trademark stylus pen. Critics have rounded on some design choices, however, including the non-replaceable battery and the lack of an SD card slot seen in previous devices.

More broadly the firm has also been hit by competition from rivals.

Yassine said the above $500 market was a two horse race between the company and Apple. But in the $400 and lower segment, he admitted conditions were more challenging, with at least 10 players competing.

“Of course, it is going to be tough. Even the profitability and margin when you go to the lower price band is less. So I don’t know how people can sustain that or justify it to gain share.”

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