Samsung Begins India Assembly of Pricey Flagship Smartphones

    Samsung Electronics Co. has begun making its fold and flip smartphones as well as its latest Galaxy S23 flagship in India, renewing its focus on a key growth market where Chinese devices have eaten into its sales.

    | Updated on: Feb 07 2023, 07:08 IST
    Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 beats iPhone 13, Galaxy S22 in 5 ways and here is why
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    1/6 The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 makes its Cover Display more useful this year with shortcuts to Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirPlane mode, and similar toggles. You can also see notifications and use it as a viewfinder for the main cameras. (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
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    2/6 The 6.7-inch display when unfolded offers a beautiful Dynamic AMOLED 2X display with variable refresh rate of up to 120Hz. The slim and uniform bezels are an added bonus and it is no less than a conventional flagship phone display, (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
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    3/6 The Galaxy Z Flip 4 has its own Flex mode features for the cameras. You can fold it in half and leave it on the surface for a tripod-like functionality. When clicking someone’s portrait, you can use the Cover Display to show them a tiny preview of the photo. When closed, you can use the 12MP + 12MP main rear cameras for selfies by using the Cover Display as a viewfinder. (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
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    4/6 Despite being a foldable phone, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 has IPX8 rating, which means it will survive light showers and moisture well.  (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
    Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4
    5/6 The Flex mode on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 allows for more utility features when folded half, the most interesting one being the trackpad function that lets you use the bottom half to slide away the photos. (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
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    6/6 The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 starts at a price of Rs. 89,999 for the base variant with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage.  (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
    Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4
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    Samsung begins assembling its entire portfolio of Galaxy Z Flip and Galaxy Z Fold lineup in India itself along with the Galaxy S 23 series. (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

    Samsung Electronics Co. has begun making its fold and flip smartphones as well as its latest Galaxy S23 flagship in India, renewing its focus on a key growth market where Chinese devices have eaten into its sales.

    The South Korean giant's Indian unit previously imported some of its premium flip and fold devices into the world's second-biggest smartphone market, but is now assembling its entire phone portfolio locally, Raju Pullan, the head of Samsung's mobile business in the country, said in an interview on Monday.

    “That also builds on our strong commitment to growing the India market,” Pullan said, declining to comment on whether the locally assembled flagship devices will be priced lower than the imported ones.

    Global smartphone leader Samsung has faced stiff competition from Chinese rivals in an Indian market characterized by cost-conscious shoppers. China's Xiaomi Corp. was India's biggest smartphone vendor in 2022 with a market share of 20%, while Samsung was a close second at 19%, according to research firm Canalys.

    For years, lower prices, bigger batteries and a marketing blitz resting on cricket and Bollywood have helped Chinese device makers outsell Samsung.

    Samsung has been slow to learn but is gradually catching up by launching more affordable devices, tying up with banks for credit card offers and rolling out a consumer credit program that helped it sell devices worth $1 billion in 2022, Pullan said.

    Like rival Apple Inc., Samsung is also participating in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's manufacturing drive that aims to turn India into an export hub. Still, Samsung has struggled to collect some of the financial incentives it has sought from the Modi administration, even as manufacturers including Apple supplier Foxconn Technology Group have succeeded with their claims.

    Samsung, which last week unveiled its latest iPhone-rivaling Galaxy S23 line, received orders for nearly 140,000 units worth about 14 billion rupees ($169 million) in India in the 24 hours after the launch, Pullan said. That's double the orders Samsung received for the previous generation of Galaxy devices on the first day.

    The company is increasing the number of stores where it sells the Galaxy devices and investing more in sales and marketing, Pullan said, without giving specifics. Samsung has set up an India-focused mobile research center and is building out production bases in the country, TM Roh, president of Samsung's smartphone business, said in a separate interview last month.

    “India is a crucial market that we'd like to take back,” Roh said.

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    First Published Date: 07 Feb, 07:07 IST
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