Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 6 August 2020

Samsung aims to boost Gulf sales with new S20 series and Z Flip phones

South Korean smartphone maker had the biggest share of the market in the Gulf in the third quarter of last year

Osman Albora, head of IT and mobile division at Samsung Gulf Electronics, predicts new innovations such as foldable technology and 5G will boost the company's overall growth this year. Pawan Singh / The National
Osman Albora, head of IT and mobile division at Samsung Gulf Electronics, predicts new innovations such as foldable technology and 5G will boost the company's overall growth this year. Pawan Singh / The National

Samsung, the world’s biggest smartphone seller, aims to boost sales in the Gulf with its new Galaxy S20 series and the already sold-out Z Flip foldable phone, despite the global slowdown in the smartphone market.

“Our latest innovations such as foldable technology and new 5G handsets will help us outperform the industry’s rate of growth in 2020,” Osman Albora, head of the IT and mobile division at Samsung Gulf Electronics, told The National.

Mr Albora, who joined Samsung in November last year, did not give a target for smartphone sales growth.

The company’s Z Flip phone was sold out across all retail outlets in the UAE on its first day of sale last month and pre-orders for the S20 series are up nearly 15 per cent in the region when compared to its predecessor, the S10, he added.

The S20 series, which consists of three phones — S20, S20+ and S20 Ultra — will go on sale in the region from March 6.

“Last year was challenging for the smartphone industry but it was a good year for us as we introduced the first foldable and 5G phone in the market … being first helped us to gain new customers,” said Mr Albora.

“With the introduction of S20 series and new foldable phone, we aim to continue the same momentum this year,” he added.

The S20 series and the Z Flip were simultaneously launched in San Francisco and London on February 11. The company held a special Middle East launch event in Dubai on Monday.

The S20 Ultra with a 17.5 centimetre screen has four cameras on the rear. Weighing only 220 grams, its starting price is set at Dh4,499. The S20+ (Dh3,599) has a 17cm screen and the standard S20 (Dh3,199) has a 15.7cm display.

The company’s Z Flip is priced Dh5,499. It is a compact, palm-sized device when folded, but its screen size nearly doubles to 17cm when opened.

Following in Samsung’s footsteps, rival Chinese brand Huawei last week launched its new foldable phone, the Mate Xs, for Dh9,966.

The South Korean company said that 5G technology will be a game-changer in 2020.

“Even in the pre-orders for S20 series, the demand for 5G phones is higher than our expectations. It is clear that people are willing to buy more 5G-enabled devices,” noted Mr Albora.

Samsung reported selling more than 6.7 million 5G phones worldwide in 2019, while Huawei said it sold 6.9 million devices during the period.

The International Data Corporation expects 190 million 5G smartphones shipments in 2020 — almost 14 per cent of total volumes. 5G smartphones contributed close to 1 per cent of global smartphone sales last year.

A 5G network promises an internet speed of up to 1.2 gigabits per second, which will gradually reach 10Gbps — more than 100 times faster than 4G. It also offers a latency of less than one millisecond, compared to 20 milliseconds for a 4G network.

Although its rival Apple warned investors of potential disruption to its supply chain from coronavirus outbreak, Samsung said it is ensuring there is minimum impact to its operations, despite a coronavirus case being reported at one of its mobile device facilities serving the South Korean market last week, according to Reuters.

“There is no impact on the supply chain and sales in the near term. We have enough stock shipped to meet our customers’ demands,” noted Mr Albora.

In the GCC region, Samsung continued to lead in terms of sales with a 45.7 per cent share of the smartphone market in the third quarter of last year, according to IDC data. Apple was second with an 18 per cent share and Huawei third with 17 per cent.

Updated: March 2, 2020 07:54 PM

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