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商业 - 科技

三星首推全金属外壳手机,希望夺回中国市场霸主地位

Reuters 2014年11月04日

为从小米手中夺回中国智能手机市场的头把交椅,三星决定采取更灵活的策略。

    三星电子公司(Samsung Electronics Co Ltd)推出了两款设计精良的中端手机,准备向低成本的中国竞争对手发起反击,夺回这个全球最大智能手机市场的头把交椅。

    从去年年底开始,三星的智能手机业务开始显现颓势,一直延续到今年第三季度。其市场份额连续三个季度下滑,净利润更创三年来的新低。

    而在中国这个全球最大的智能手机市场,三星的日子尤其艰难。本土品牌小米(Xiaomi Inc)于今年第二季度力克三星,成为了中国销量第一的手机品牌。更糟糕的是,行业分析师指出,与小米和联想集团(Lenovo Group Ltd)的热销产品相比,三星的低端手机不仅价格较高,而且缺乏特色。

    分析师认为,三星推出Galaxy A3和A5手机是其第一波反击。这两款手机将于今年11月在中国率先发售,是三星首次推出的全金属机身手机,也是迄今为止最薄的智能手机。A3和A5的尺寸堪比旗舰级的Galaxy S5,但是屏幕分辨率稍逊一筹。相较之下,小米的Mi4比A5稍厚,但处理速度更快,屏幕分辨率也更高。

    首尔IBK资产管理公司(IBK Asset Management)的基金经理Kim Hyun-su持有三星公司股票,他认为:“三星必须提高中端手机的配置,比如使用金属机身,这样才能应对中国本土的竞争对手。”

    三星将这两款新手机定位为中端手机,并表示也会在其他“特定市场”发售,但是并未透露价格。

    在三星宣布推出新产品之后,市场期待三星业绩出现反弹并发放更多股息,从而带动公司股价在首尔证券交易所一路上扬,收盘价创两个多月来新高。自周四以来,三星股价已上涨10%。

    “我们还需要观望这些手机的销售情况,”联昌国际银行集团(CIMB)驻首尔的分析师Lee Do-hoon表示。他指出,由于价格尚未公布,目前很难预测这些手机是否能取得成功。

    三星近期还将推出多款新设备。该公司周四承认,自己面对“竞争格局的风云变幻”反应太慢,并表示将推出新产品。

    三星高级副总裁金铉俊周四向分析师表示,“在中低端智能手机方面,我们将在显示屏和材质等方面做文章,并升级摄像头功能,由此来提升产品的竞争力。”他同时表示,三星会采取措施,将利润率保持在两位数。

    但是这显然并非易事。全球智能手机市场增长对于低端产品的依赖与日俱增,因此形成各大公司竞相压价的局面,能依旧维持高价的只有苹果公司(Apple Inc)。

    三星宣称要提高价格的竞争力,但是这只会进一步影响其利润率。多数分析师认为,最早在2015年年中之前,该公司的智能手机业务利润都难见实质性的上涨。而在此之后,公司才有可能看到产品线调整所带来的成效。

    但是KTB投资分析师Jin Sung-hye表示,“这种产品线的调整代价高昂,就相当于把家里重新装修一遍。”(财富中文网)

    Samsung Electronics Co Ltd SSNLF 7.22% unveiled two mid-tier handsets with a premium design as its prepared to deliver a riposte to low-cost Chinese rivals and reclaim its title as the top brand in the world’s biggest smartphone market.

    Samsung’s smartphone woes began late last year and persisted through July-September, with its global market share down for the third straight quarter and its profit scraping at a three-year low.

    Its struggles were prominent in China, the world’s biggest smartphone market, where it was dethroned by local upstart Xiaomi Inc as the top smartphone maker in the second quarter. It does not help that Samsung’s lower-end products are too expensive and not distinctive enough compared to those touted by Xiaomi and Lenovo Group Ltd , analysts say.

    The Galaxy A3 and A5 are seen by analysts as Samsung’s first counter-strike. Initially launching in China in November, they’ll be Samsung’s first devices to feature fully metallic bodies and its thinnest smartphones to date. In size, the A3 and A5 are comparable to those of the top-of-the-line Galaxy S5, though of

    lesser screen resolution quality. For comparison, Xiaomi’s Mi4 device is thicker than the A5, for example, but sports a faster processor and a higher-quality display.

    “I think improving specs on the mid-tier products by using features like a full metal body is something that Samsung needed to do to respond to the Chinese rivals,” said Seoul-based IBK Asset Management fund manager Kim Hyun-su, who holds Samsung shares.

    Samsung classified the new phones as mid-tier, and said they will be launched in other “select markets”, without disclosing the pricing.

    The announcement, combined with hopes for an earnings recovery and bigger dividends, pushed Samsung’s shares in Seoul to the highest close in more than two months. The stock has gained 10% since Thursday.

    “We’ll have to wait and see how well these phones sell,” said Seoul-based CIMB analyst Lee Do-hoon, adding that the lack of disclosure on pricing makes the devices’ success harder to predict.

    Samsung is expected to launch more devices soon, having admitted on Thursday that it was too slow to respond to “rapid shifts in the competitive landscape” and vowed to deliver new products.

    “For our mid to low-end smartphones we will enhance product competitiveness by differentiating our displays and materials as well as upgrading camera functionality,” Senior Vice President Kim Hyun-joon told analysts on Thursday, pledging to take efforts to keep margins at double-digit rates.

    That may be difficult to achieve, though. Global smartphone market growth is increasingly driven by the low-end segment, making it a race to the bottom for all but companies like Apple Inc AAPL 0.95% , which can still command a price premium.

    Samsung has vowed to improve price competitiveness, as well, which will only further erode the bottom line. Most analysts do not expect a meaningful profit recovery for the firm’s smartphone business until mid-2015 at the earliest, when the company may start seeing tangible results from a line-up revamp.

    “A line-up change is a costly process, just like re-doing your home interior design,” said KTB Investment analyst Jin Sung-hye.

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