SEOUL, Jan. 29 (Korea Bizwire) — Samsung Electronics Co. is taking steps to strengthen its online sales presence in the critical Indian market as it strives to stay ahead of its main Chinese rival, industry sources said Sunday.
Market watchers said that the South Korean tech giant is taking steps to become more localized in terms of services it will offer online in the subcontinent that will make it stand out to Indian consumers.
Reflecting this, the company is launching its upper-midrange A8-plus smartphone online for the first time ever on Jan. 10.
The decision to ship the A8 is a departure from the company’s past strategy of releasing only its premium Galaxy S smartphones and Galaxy Note phablets in India alongside its midrange and affordable Galaxy J, On and C series phones.
A8s come with excellent features in terms of operating systems, processors and cameras, but at a lower price point compared to Samsuung’s flagship lineup.
The move to enhance its online presence comes as Samsung’s main rival, Xiaomi, takes steps to increase its offline operations in the world’s second largest smartphone market. The Chinese handset maker has been selling 80 percent of its products online while operating just 17 offline stores in the country.
Xiaomi outpaced Samsung in terms of sales in India in the fourth quarter of last year, although the South Korean company accounted for 24 percent of all smartphones sold in the vast market for the whole of 2017. This is 5 percent higher than its Chinese competitor, data from Counterpoint Research showed.
“The size of the Indian market is expected to grow steadily with growing emphasis on selling phones with upgraded features,” a Samsung insider said.
Industry sources said India is becoming more important for Samsung, which has effectively been sidestepped by local phonemakers in the Chinese market.
They pointed out that Xiaomi has been able to grow in India by dominating the US$100-125 phone market there in the past.
“Samsung needs to capitalize on its high brand recognition and create a new price market for its smartphones that can allow it to expand sales down the road,” a local observer said.