By James Wells

SYDNEY: Samsung Electronics Australia last night unveiled a significant commitment to its mobile phone business, which is not only the largest contributor to the company’s global revenue growth, but is expected to eventually leapfrog Motorola and Nokia to become the best selling mobile phone brand in the world.

In a speech delivered in Sydney last night to launch the new Slim range of phones, Samsung Electronics Australia, general manager – telecommunications, Josh Delgado, revealed that within the company’s business units that generated $US57.5 billion in sales last year, Samsung’s mobile division was the largest contributor to revenue growth.

Last year, Samsung increased its sales by 20 per cent to 103 million units to become the third largest manufacturer behind Motorola and Nokia with a global market share of 13 per cent. In the Asia Pacific region, which is the largest and fastest growing region in the world, Samsung is the second largest brand.

“Our global success has also been reflected here in Australia. In 2005, we grew our sales by 33 per cent, and our market share by around 50 per cent from the previous year. And this was achieved at a time when the total industry actually declined. In multi-media phones – particularly camera phones – which are driving replacement rates, Samsung performed particularly well. In the second half of 2005, around one in every five megapixel camera phones sold was a Samsung. We are on track to achieve our target to become number one,” he said.

“Our success is driven by a deep belief in the power of digital convergence, bringing together the world’s most advanced technologies in ways that make consumer’s lives more exciting, more fun and more convenient,” Delgado said.

“Consumers agree that Samsung mobile phones are more premium in quality, better designed and more highly featured. For carriers and retailers alike, selling Samsung means you will attract higher value from consumers. Now some of you are probably thinking that sounds far fetched, after all everyone says that’s their target. Well the dominos are starting to fall our way.

“Last year in France – one of the world’s largest and leading markets – we overtook everyone to become number one in sales and revenue. There is no doubt our strategies are succeeding.

“We believe that the mobile phone is an information hub, that multi-media convergence and higher speed mobile networks together can provide consumers with a single communication and entertainment device that will transform and improve their lifestyles. We’re prepared to invest heavily in research and development to deliver this vision to our consumers. In 2005, Samsung Electronics poured over $US10 billion dollars into research and development, up by more than 40 per cent over the previous year.”

This research and development has created world firsts, including the B600 – a 10-megapixel camera phone which supports mobile television launched last week at CeBIT in Germany.

Also at CeBit, Samsung launched the world’s first eight gigabyte music phone – the i310 as well as the world’s fastest gigabyte micro memory card for mobile phone file storage.

Earlier this year, Samsung launched seven mobile television phones across four different mobile broadcasting services at the International CES in Las Vegas.

“We’re proud of our technology innovations and also equally proud of the superiority in quality of our phones. Anecdotally, we have the lowest returns in industry. Our phones are reliable and easier to sell,” Delgado said.
“Samsung is renowned for our great handset designs. Bar phones now comprise less than 40 per cent of global sales. Consumers want stylish, innovative designs that support the latest multi-media services. For the upwardly mobile, design conscious and tech savvy consumer this means everything has to be compact, lightweight, stylish, slim and fully featured. At Samsung, design goes hand in hand with function. Our design brief was clear – no compromise.

“Mobile penetration rates in Australia are now over 90 per cent. There is no doubt that mobile phones are now fashion accessories – albeit highly functional, multimedia communication fashion accessories.

“Last year, Samsung overtook Sony to become the world’s number one consumer electronics brand, achieving the highest rate of growth of the top 20 brands. The mobile division’s contribution to overall brand equity was over 70 per cent. We believe in the power of Samsung mobile phones to transform the lives of our consumers. Samsung’s total investment in brand is considerable with annual global advertising spend of around $US3 billion dollars per year. This investment includes extensive sponsorships, some of which are exclusive to Samsung Mobile including the Olympics where Samsung has been the official Worldwide Wireless Communications Equipment Partner since Nagano in 1988, and we will remain so until Beijing 2008,” Delgado said.

Samsung is also leveraging sponsorships of the Chelsea Football Club in the English Premier League, the Sydney Roosters rugby league club, Melbourne Victory A-League soccer club as well as partnerships with Quiksilver and Microsoft Xbox.

Samsung was the exclusive mobile partner for the AJC Spring Racing Carnival in 2005 and is continuing its association for the 2006 Easter Racing Carnival – the biggest horse racing carnival in Australia.