Samsung aims to sell 510 million phones
By Kim Yoo-chul, Cho Mu-hyun
GUMI, North Gyeongsang Province - Samsung Electronics, one half of the global duopoly on smartphones, claims 2013 will be the year when it separates itself from bitter rival Apple.
The Korean technology giant is the world’s largest maker of mobile phones and aims to ship a record 510 million handsets next year.
That would be a 20 percent increase from the estimated 420 million devices this year, according to sources from the company and its suppliers. It shipped around 288 million handsets through the first nine months of the year and is expecting a global Christmas bump.
''Of the 510 million handsets it plans to sell, 390 million are slated as smartphones and 120 million, feature and budget phones,’’ according to an executive from one of Samsung’s key suppliers.
Aside of its Galaxy smartphones and tablets, which have emerged as the main competitors to Apple’s iPhones and iPads, Samsung is planning to release a lineup of devices powered by Microsoft’s Windows 8 mobile operating system. It will also push products that support TIZEN software, which Samsung jointly developed with semiconductor rival Intel.
''There are some possibilities that smartphone demand will slow in general. But we are seeing new demand for devices using Long Term Evolution (LTE),’’ said Kim Hyun-joon, an executive at Samsung’s telecommunications division.
Another source said that Samsung expects to manufacture 240 million devices at its Vietnamese factory, 170 million in China and 20 million in India to complement the 40 million to be produced in its Korean factory in Gumi, North Gyeongsang Province.
In order to effectively save costs on manufacturing, logistics and delivery time, Samsung will spend $2.2 billion on its handset factories in the Vietnamese towns of Bac Ninh and Thai Nguyen by 2020 to boost output.
''By offering better pricing to consumers in developing nations, we will find new growth. This will also enable consumers in developed nations like North America and Europe to buy our LTE devices at more affordable prices,’’ said a Samsung official.
The plan contrasts a previous outlook by leading market researcher Gartner, that predicted the Korean firm to sell between 250 million and 300 million smartphones next year. In 2011, Samsung sold 97.4 million smartphones, up from 23.9 million and 0.6 million in 2010 and 2009, respectively.
Analysis from HIS iSuppli, another research firm, noted that Samsung is set to seize the global mobile handset market’s top ranking this year, ending the 14-year reign of Nokia.
The report projects Samsung will account for 29 percent of worldwide mobile shipments, up from 24 percent in 2011, while Nokia’s share will drop to 24 percent, down from 30 percent last year.
''Samsung’s proven ability to quickly produce and replace a wide range of handsets aimed at several different markets contrasts with Nokia’s struggles and Apple’s difficulties that are mainly related to parts sourcing problems,’’ said Hwang Min-seong, an analyst at Samsung Securities.
Hwang expects Samsung’s handset division to raise its profit to 21 trillion won next year from an expected 19 trillion won this year.