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Korean agency Cheil on an expansion mode in India

Cheil Worldwide, the Korean agency, mostly famous as the worldwide agency-of-record for Samsung Electronics, is trying to acquire a new identity for itself as an independent creative agency. In India the agency is located in Gurgaon and has beefed up its team recently with two Executive Creative directors – Varun Arora and Shobhit Mathur and Amit Ahluwalia as Vice President Client Servicing.

While the creatives will be reporting in to the National Creative Director Elvis Sequeira, the servicing resource would report into Alok Agrawal, COO, Cheil WW, SW Asia. While Arora joins from Rediffusion Y&R where he was a Executive Creative Director working on the LG account, Mathur had a longish stint at JWT where he was AVP & Sr. Creative Director.

Ahluwalia moved from Ogilvy & Mather, Delhi where he was Vice President, Account Management. Arora who has worked on the LG account during his stint at Rediffusion – YR for almost three years says on his new stint, “ It is an interesting time in the world of advertising and there is no one single model that any agency can follow. The 30-second TVC is clearly not the future and Cheil is clearly an agency that is looking beyond with its integrated model.”

Interestingly, Cheil Worldwide is South Korea’s largest advertising agency and other than Samsung, it has other mandates like Korea Tourism Organization, Hankook Tire, Korean Air, China Mobile in the Korean market. It is seeking to replicate the same story in other markets like India, with it’s integrated offering and in-house capabilities in areas like Interactive, digital, Retail and BTL.

Samsung offers new products at SW Asia Regional Forum

BANGKOK: Samsung on Sunday announced a slew of new products across AV, Mobile, TV and IT categories at the 2012 South West Asia Regional Forum held in Bangkok.

At the event, B D Park, president & CEO of Samsung Electronics, South West Asia and managing director of Samsung India Company promised to “push the boundaries of innovation and consumer experience” with these new products, showcased in this special event for media from the South West Asia region. All these products are expected to be launched in India over the next few months.

Samsung’s new ES8000 LED Smart TV features an ultra-slim bezel, a built in camera with microphone, voice control, gesture-based control and face recognition. Thanks to the built in camera, users can not only have face-to-face video chats over Skype, but it also enable advanced face recognition, gesture control and voice control.

ES8000 is also the first in a series of upgradable TVs. An add-on Smart Evolution Kit will enable new features on the TV as and when they become available. Prices for the Indian market are expected to be Rs 80,000 onwards.

Samsung also announced the update to the Galaxy Tab-the Galaxy Tab 2 310. Featuring a 7-inch screen, 1Ghz dual-core processor and the latest Android 4.0. It weighs just 345 grams and still retains support for 3G and voice calls using a standard SIM slot. It is expected to be priced at Rs 23,300.

Finally, the new Series 9 laptop-an ultra-thin and ultra-light machine that far exceeds even the Ultrabook specifications laid down by Intel-will be available in 13 and 15-inch variants, with a choice of Intel Core i5 or i7 processors, solid state drives and a 10-hour battery life, all in a starting weight of 1kg and 13mm thickness in a single-shell, sandblasted aluminium shell. Once again, prices were not announced, but are expected to be priced Rs 70,000 onwards.

Tying all these together are new software and services from Samsung-new India-specific apps for the Smart TV and AllShare Play-a software + cloud solution that lets you seamless share and beam content Samsung laptops, mobile devices (Android + Bada smartphones, Note devices, tablets), laptops and smart TVs.

Also showcased were several audio docks with support for both Samsung and Apple products, new digital cameras with built in Wi-Fi, the Beam Android smartphone with a built in LED pico projector, Samsung’s Slate PC with full Windows 7, large screen Plasma TVs and home appliances.

Worldwide semiconductor revenue at $302 bn in 2011: Gartner

Worldwide semiconductor revenue grew by 0.9 per cent to USD 302 billion in 2011, according to preliminary results from Gartner, Inc.

After a strong start to the year, worries about the strength of the macro-economy slowed equipment and semiconductor orders in 2011.

“The industry did well in the early part of the year, in many cases entering the year with backlog from an exuberant 2010,” said Stephan Ohr, Semiconductor Research Director at Gartner.

“But uncertainty about the state of the macro-economy set in at the midpoint of the year. Consumers held off purchases, and infrastructure expansion plans languished as governments resisted assuming more debt. Equipment inventories began to build as the year progressed, with resulting ripples throughout the semiconductor industry,” it said.

Intel held the No. 1 position in the semiconductor market for the 20th consecutive year and 2011 marks Intel’s highest-ever market share of 16.9 per cent. Its previous best was achieved in 1998, when it commanded 16.3 per cent of the market.

Intel saw strong growth in the first half of the year as the PC market stocked up inventory in anticipation of a strong second half of the year. Intel server products Westmere and Nahelem had a good year. Intel’s revenues for 2011 include earnings from the wireless business unit (BU) purchased from Infineon in the first quarter of the year in a transaction worth about USD 1.4 billion.

At the No. 2 spot, Samsung Electronics saw its revenue grow slightly above the industry average despite its exposure to the declining DRAM market.

Samsung’s NAND business saw healthy revenue growth, but this was broadly in line with the overall NAND market growth. Samsung’s non-memory business was by far the strongest growth area for the company, with application-specific devices, particularly wireless applications processors, witnessing robust demand.

The strongest growth came from Samsung’s relationship with Apple, to which it supplies the A5 processor used in the iPhone 4S and iPad2 media tablet.

Texas Instruments, at the No. 3 position, has arguably the strongest manufacturing capability in the analog semiconductor industry — a consequence of acquisitions made in 2010.

However, uncertainty in the macroeconomic environment affected revenue for all analog suppliers as orders slowed in the third quarter of 2011 and again in the fourth. The slowdown for power management devices — important in the construction of new data centres and in the deployment of personal computers — was not as severe as the slowdown in the amplifiers and data converters segment.

As a group, the processor-makers — Intel, Qualcomm, Advanced Micro Devices and Nvidia — outperformed the rest of the industry.

Intel’s server business grew despite slowdowns in PC production, while Qualcomm was carried by ongoing shifts to 4G and LTE mobile services. Nvidia ramped up its Tegra platform to support tablet-makers, hoping to capture some of the enthusiasm associated with tablet PCs.

India to be in the league of top five markets for Sony by 2015

KOLKATA: Before Kazuo Hirai took charge as the chief executive officer at Sony Corp in April with the single-point agenda of reviving the ailing consumer electronics giant, one of the first senior colleagues he met was Masaru Tamagawa, chief of Sony’s Indian operations.

India, one of the rare global markets where Sony is leading the market in large flat televisions and digital cameras, will also be one of the first countries Hirai plans to visit as Sony CEO because Sony India is a vital element in the company’s turnaround plans.

“India is becoming one of the most important market for Sony globally, is highly profitable and has potential to figure amongst the largest markets in three years,” says Tamagawa who has helped the brand triple its Indian revenues since he took charge as the managing director five years back.

Sony India now directly reports to the headquarters in Tokyo and not to Singapore, the Asia-Pacific hub-an honour enjoyed by select geographies such as the US, China and Russia.

Such is the upbeat mood in India that despite Sony estimating annual net loss of $6.4 billion for the past financial year and announcing plans to cut nearly 10,000 jobs globally, Sony India last week said it will hire 500 people this financial year.

As per company estimates, India will join the league of top five markets for the Japanese giant by 2015, sharing space with US, Japan and China. At present, Sony India figures amongst the top ten markets and contributes 5% to global revenues.

The company quotes GfK and IDC figures to claim market leadership in LED TV, large-screen (40-inch plus) LCD TV, digital camera, camcorder and, since December, in consumer laptops.

In fact, Sony India in 2010-11 touched a turnover of more than $1 billion and won the best performing subsidiary award from the parent. The company is yet to announce its results for 2011-12.

“Sony commits to reach another milestone of $2 billion mark by FY14,” says Tamagawa.

BRIC FOCUS: INDIA’S GAIN
Sony’s focus on India comes at a time when the contribution of the Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) is growing in its overall pie. This chunk contributes almost half of Sony’s global revenues as the brand’s performance in matured markets like Japan, North America and the European Union lags.

The focus has also translated into growing number of Japanese executives taking charge of critical functions in Sony India. At present, there are more than 20 expats who are heading critical functions, including marketing, service and logistics at the Indian arm. Sony has also just de-merged its sales and research operations in India as two separate entities to independently drive focus on them.

CORE BUSINESSES GROWING IN INDIA
Immediately after taking charge of Sony’s global operations, Kazuo Hirai, who earlier headed Sony’s PlayStation gaming console business, announced plans to fix the company’s ailing television business and vowed to revive the brand trampled by Samsung Electronics and Apple.

But his biggest concern is his brand’s strongest point in India. While Sony’s television business posted up to $10 billion in losses globally, in India the Bravia television is one of the largest revenue contributor for the company.

Sony India head Tamagawa says, “Bravia is the flagship product category and is generating sizable amount of turnover and profit in India.” He adds that last year the Indian unit sold more than 9.5 lakh Bravia televisions, which contributes more than 35% to Sony India’s total sales.

Tamagawa says the firm will continue to focus on growth areas such as television, digital camera and laptop. Sony enjoys market leadership in all these product segments – Sony Bravia enjoys 40% share in LED TV, Cybershot has 42% share in compact digital cameras, Handycam 90% share in camcorders, and Sony Vaio 20% share in consumer laptops.

HUGE BRAND PULL
Sony enjoys a cult status in India and is conceived as a super premium brand with relatively higher pricing than competitors like LG and Samsung. It is this price positioning which has made the brand aspirational to consumers down the ages, right from transistor radio, Trinitron TV, Walkman, music systems or PlayStation.

According to market research firm DisplaySearch, Sony is well positioned in the Indian TV market with the strongest brand image and highest number of brand shops which acts to reassure consumers that the brand is doing well.

“If Sony can focus and avoid being drawn into a price game, they should survive well in India,” says DisplaySearch director (India and South Asia) Indrajit Ghosh.

Pulkit Baid, director of Kolkata’s leading durable retail chain Great Eastern Appliances, says most consumers would first enquire about a Sony product and consider another brand only if the price exceeds their budget.

Sure enough Tamagawa wants to protect Sony’s brand sanctity in India at all cost.

The company last year pumped in Rs 360 crore last year as marketing investment, which it plans to grow substantially.

Sony India, which in February changed its creative agency to Hakuhodo Percept from JWT, is launching a new campaign with Deepika Padukone for Cybershot cameras. Next in line will be Vaio laptops with Kareena Kapoor.

Tamagawa says laptop business has become a dark horse to challenge brands like Dell, Acer, Lenovo and Hewlett-Packard. He now wants to create more such dark horses.

He admits Sony India has to be little careful towards making investments for the time being due to the global stress, but that refuses to die his spirits. After all, the challenge is now to take the company to the global league.

Srini Sundararajan appointed head of network business at Samsung India Electronics

MUMBAI: Samsung Electronics has announced the appointment of Srini Sundararajan as the Head of Network Business at Samsung India Electronics (SIEL).

Sundararajan will be in charge of managing operations and further developing business opportunities of Samsung’s mobile network business in Southwest Asia.

Sundararajan is a veteran in the industry with 30 years of experience in various jobs such as R&D, product management. In his previous role, he led Alcatel-Lucent India and South Asia business, and contributed towards business profitability, market development and organizational management.

“With Srini, Samsung will continue to expand its business in Southwest Asia, one of the fastest growing markets in the industry,” said Youngky Kim, President & Head of Network at Samsung Electronics in a release.

Samsung to offer educational content on tabs, smart TVs

NEW DELHI: Electronics giant Samsung today said it will offer educational content to school students and aspirant of competitive exams through tablets and smart TVs.

Users can download the app from Android Play Store and purchase content for class 1st-12th for CBSE board, priced between Rs 2,000 and Rs 4,000.

“This is in sync with the Prime Minister‘s vision of inclusive education. Technology can play a big role in the sector. With this launch, we are targetting the over 36 million students in private schools, who can benefit from our solutions,” Samsung Electronics Director Media Solutions Centre (South West Asia) Tarun Malik told PTI.

Samsung will start offering content for other boards like ICSE in the coming quarters, he added.

“The content is optimised for tablets and smart TV screens. We will wait to see the response to these and then if need be, we will also bring in solutions for smartphones,” he said.

Samsung will pre-embed the app in its Galaxy range of tablets. The Korean firm will also use its retail network to sell SD cards with the content through its network.

Asked if the firm would partner schools or focus on inpidual students, Malik said it would be a mixed approach.

“We will target both parents and schools.There would be a mass campaign as well,” he added.

Stay committed to Make in India, Samsung told

Kolkata: A high-powered committee on electronics set up by the Prime Minister’s Office is said to have expressed concern over Samsung Electronics’ decision to stop manufacturing LED televisions in the country and wants the South Korean company to be committed to the ‘Make in India’ initiative.

Samsung stopped TV production at its Chennai plant in October 2018 after a 5% customs duty was levied on open cell panels, a key component that accounts for 65-70% of the total production cost of a television.

The company started importing TVs from Vietnam through the freetrade agreement route at nil duty.

Samsung informed the committee that it can start LED TV panel and TV set production at its Chennai plant only if the government scraps the customs duty on open cell panels, two senior industry executives said. The company conveyed this decision to the committee, which met Samsung India officials earlier this month in New Delhi, and through a letter thereafter.

“The government committee had expressed to Samsung India that its decision to move television production to Vietnam has been a blotch on ‘Make in India’ and wants the company to remain committed,” an executive said. As per government data, TV imports from Vietnam soared to Rs 2,317 crore in FY19 from Rs 62 crore in the previous year. As per industry, Samsung alone is likely to account for this surge in imports from Vietnam due to its plant there.

At the same time, Samsung plans to expand its mobile phone production in India through contract manufacturing and is about to sign a deal with an Indian manufacturer for feature phones and Taiwan’s Wistron Corporation for smartphones, the executives said.

Emails sent to Samsung India and Wistron did not elicit any response till Monday press time.

The government committee’s task is to assess the potential of ‘Make in India’ in the current geopolitical scenario and propose a policy framework to attract global investment in Indian electronics manufacturing.

Samsung’s Bengaluru R&D centre to explore multi-device intelligence, beyond 5G

BENGALURU: Samsung Electronics said on Wednesday it will explore multi-device intelligence, beyond 5G, blockchain and data science areas over the next five years at its research and development (R&D) facility here.

Samsung R&D Institute, Bangalore (SRI-B), Samsungs largest R&D facility outside Korea, is celebrating its 25 years in India.

Over the years, it has grown into an advanced R&D centre for Samsung globally, with excellence in wireless communications, multimedia and image processing, artificial intelligence in vision, voice and text technologies and Internet of Things (IoT), a company statement said on Wednesday.

“Over the next five years, SRI-B to explore Multi-Device Intelligence, beyond 5G, Blockchain and Data Science areas even as it continues to create strong differentiation for Samsung through innovations in camera technologies, artificial intelligence and 5G”, it said.

SRI-B, which was set up in 1996, will continue to work on advanced R&D areas such as 5G, AI, IoT, cloud services, as well as on India-specific innovations for Samsung Galaxy smartphones, it was stated.

SRI-B engineers have filed over 3,200 patents so far and over the last three years there has been a 4X increase in the number of patents being filed annually, the statement said.

In this period, there has been an increase in Gen Z and Millennial engineers at SRI-B filing patents and around 80 per cent of the patent creators were engineers who filed patents for the first time in their careers.

“It has been an incredible journey since 1996 as SRI-B has been Samsungs pillar of strength.

As we complete yet another milestone, we will focus onbreakthrough innovationswith our refreshed R&D strategy that will lead to shaping of new global lifestyles inspired from India,”saidManaging Director, SRI-B, Dipesh Shah.

On the digital infrastructure side, virtualisation and containerisation will be the key technology focus areas for SRI-B going forward.

It will also focus on intensifying community building programmes with services like ‘Samsung Find’ that enables users to help each other in tracing devices, the statement said.

“Since its set up in 1996, SRI-B has worked on many cutting edge technologies and has had many firsts 3G networks, the worlds first 4G, 5G networks, voice over LTE and engineers at the centre have made significant contributions to Samsung Galaxy smartphones and Samsung networks”, it said.

Samsung’s Jay Y. Lee receives 30-month prison term in bribery trial

SEOUL: A South Korean court sentenced Samsung Electronics vice chairman Jay Y. Lee to two and a half years in prison, the court said on Monday, which will have major ramifications for his leadership of the tech giant as well as Korea’s views toward big business.

With this, Lee will be sidelined from major decision making at Samsung Electronics as it strives to overtake competitors, and from overseeing the process of inheritance from his father, who died in October, crucial to keeping control of Samsung.

Lee, 52, was convicted of bribing an associate of former President Park Geun-hye and jailed for five years in 2017. He denied wrongdoing, the sentence was reduced and suspended on appeal, and he was released after serving a year.

The Supreme Court then sent the case back to the Seoul High Court, which issued Monday’s ruling.

Under South Korean law, only a jail term of three years or fewer can be suspended. For longer sentences, the person must serve out the term barring a presidential pardon. With Lee returning to jail, the year he already served in detention is expected to count toward the sentence.

Monday’s sentencing can be appealed to the Supreme Court, but because the Supreme Court has already ruled on it once, chances are lower that is legal interpretation will change, legal experts said.

“In a case sent back by the Supreme Court, there is a narrower range of options for the judges’ bench… but it’s also true that the Supreme Court can’t really touch the final court’s sentencing,” said Rha Seung-chul, a lawyer not connected with the case.

Samsung pips Xiaomi to grab 2nd spot in global wearables market

Samsung Electronics took over Chinese brand Xiaomi to become the world’s second-largest vendor of wearable devices in the first quarter of the year, a report has showed, on the back of its wireless earbuds sales.

The South Korean tech giant moved ahead of China’s Xiaomi for the first time to take the runner-up spot with a market share of 11.8 percent, which was up 0.6 percentage point from a year earlier, according to the latest report from market researcher International Data Corporation (IDC).

At third place, Xiaomi was the only company among the top five brands to suffer an on-year decline in its wearable devices sales.

Xiaomi’s market share dropped to 9.7 percent from 13.3 percent from a year ago after its wearable shipments slipped 1.8 percent on-year to 10.2 million units, Yonhap news agency reported, quoting from the report.

Samsung shipped 11.8 million units of wearable products in the January-March period, up 35.7 percent from a year earlier.

“Driving its volumes higher has been its truly wireless earbuds, including the Galaxy Buds Live, Galaxy Buds+ and the most recent addition, the Galaxy Buds Pro,” IDC said.

“Also contributing to the company’s growth were earwear shipments from its JBL subsidiary with its mass-market and less expensive models. Meanwhile, the company’s smartwatches and wristbands sustained their growth, reaching new first quarter records,” it said.

Apple maintained its top position, but its market share dropped to 28.8 percent from 32.3 percent a year earlier as its sales growth was below the industry average.

The US tech titan shipped 30.1 million wearable devices in the first quarter, up 19.8 percent from a year earlier.

The worldwide wearables market grew 34.4 percent on-year to reach 104.6 million units in the first three months of 2021, the highest for any first quarter.

Another Chinese tech powerhouse, Huawei, ranked fourth with an 8.2 percent share, down from 8.4 percent a year earlier.

India-based BoAt took the fifth spot with a 2.9 percent share after its shipments more than quadrupled to 3 million units in the first quarter.