The Samsung Group continues its battle for technology supremacy with the continuous introduction of innovative new products. It is no secret that Apple’s introduction in 2014 of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus fired a serious salvo into the Samsung camp. Xiaomi and other Chinese makers of handsets have also taken a bite out of Samsung’s profits.
The technology giant has a big reputation to protect. The $288 Billion company with 470 thousand employees occupies one fourth of South Korea’s economic output. It took in $190 billion in sales last year alone, which amounts to the combined earnings total of Microsoft, Google, Amazon and FaceBook. Samsung accomplished this with the sale of 215 million smartphones that economic experts estimate to be about 40 per cent of the total worldwide sales. Interbrand, a marketing consulting company, had this to say about Samsung Group: “Samsung Electronics, one of over 80 businesses within the Samsung empire, has become the world’s number-one smartphone maker, now outselling Apple’s iPhone.” The battle lines are drawn and the big South Korean giant appears to be up to the fight.
Samsung Group maintains its supremacy by manufacturing its own electronic parts, like chips and display panels. It then uses its homemade parts to manufacture its smart phones and other technology devices. Other companies in Europe and the United States find this too cumbersome and buy their electronics from someone else so they can manufacture their software and hardware for sale. Companies like Apple even outsource much of the assembly of their iPhones and other products.
But the South Korean technology giant is putting up a good fight. It has fought back hard with the introduction of the Galaxy S big screen smart phone and the Galaxy Note. The Galaxy 6 has a big screen to compete with iPhone and new features such as the built-in video share live feature. The Galaxy Note allows it owner to use an advanced S Pen to jot down notes without even turning on the phone.
Samsung Group recently introduced the Gear S smart watch, which provides network connection for emails, updates, map directions, while allowing streaming and listening to music on the move and much more. The device caters to health conscious people with its “workout ready” features like the ability to map a run, track your steps, monitor your heart rate and count calories burned. Samsung seems to know its target consumers well and is working hard to meet their needs while making big profits.
Lee Kun-hee, chairman of the company, appears to have set his sights on being number one in the world and maintaining that position. Forbes magazine ranks chairman Lee as number 19 in its list of richest people in technology. Employees have likened Samsung Group to a religion with Lee as its god. Lee suffered a heart attack last year leading many to wonder about the future of the company. CNN Money reports that shareholders gave the go-ahead for the merger of Sumsung affiliates so that he can pass the sprawling electronic empire over to his son.
Samsung Group, through this merger, will continue its battle for technology supremacy. With its continued emphasis on innovation and technology leadership combined with the handing over of the company to Lee’s son, the huge conglomerate seems poised for even bigger victories in the battle for technology supremacy.
By Lloyd Gardner
New York Times: Samsung Uneasy in the Lead
Interbrand.com: Interbrand Best Asian Brands, p. 26.
Forbes.com: Profile Lee Kun Hee
Money.CNN.com: 07/17/2015/. Investing Samsung Korea Lee Merger