Samsung Malaysia plans to aggressively promote digital convergence devices among Malaysian consumers in view of the growing demand for such devices in the exciting digital economy.
Managing director Won Jong Duk sees that although a relative newcomer, Samsung has become a household name in Malaysia.
WON JONG DUK
Samsung Malaysia Electronics (SME) Sdn Bhd.
STARBIZ: How are your plans to strengthen the business coming along?
Won: Samsung has come a long way since the mid-80s when we started our operations in Malaysia with home appliances/consumer electronics. Over the years, we have widened our product offerings, including mobile phones and IT. Since last year, we have played a more active role in marketing apart from widening our product range.
Our medium- to long-term plans include promoting more aggressively digital convergence devices among Malaysian consumers on the back of the growing demand for such devices in this exciting digital economy. Extending our already high level of after-sales service is also high on our priority list.
Samsung is already a market leader in a number of product segments, including mobile phones, IT products and home appliances and we are working towards the goal of being the No. 1 in consumer electronics by the end of this year and the most loved brand.
StarBiz: Are your reaping the benefits of earlier moves to better position the business? Kindly elaborate
Won: We have laid the necessary foundationalthough Samsung is considered a relative newcomer in Malaysia vis-à-vis our unique product and marketing capabilities, leading to the rapid acceptance of Samsung products.
In a relatively short period, Samsung has become a household name in many product categories on the back of the premium and growing brand image of Samsung in Malaysia. It speaks a lot of the appeal of our products, which are built largely on Samsung’s technology advancements and product innovations.
StarBiz: What are the trends in the industry or economy that are having a positive impact on your business?
Won: Malaysia is a showcase of a very successful developing country. The underlying conditions in the domestic economy remain strong with robust private consumption and investment activities on the back of last year’s impressive 7.1% economic growth.
Unlike many developing countries, Malaysia has a unique advantage – a sizeable portion of its population is in the medium and upper income brackets with relatively high disposable incomes.
To illustrate my point is the expansion of Malaysia’s mobile telecommunication sector in which Samsung has also emerged as one of the market leaders.
The number of subscribers has increased from 2.5 million in 1999 to about 14.5 million so far this year. It represents a penetration rate of almost 60% compared with the world average of 21.9%, and about 12% of Malaysian households have more than one mobile phone.
StarBiz: Do you foresee or expect any unfavourable occurrences or events that could have an impact on your business in the near future?
Won: Besides stiff competition, we are watching closely a number of global issues, including the rising oil prices, which will have an impact across the board, and Samsung is no exception. There will also be inflationary pressures and a direct and indirect impact on consumerspending.
There is also the ongoing debate over the currency peg. Obviously, Malaysia is coming under pressure for a review amid fears of rising inflation and speculation that the yuan will be revalued.
StarBiz: Moving forward, are you likely to be still expanding your business or the scope of your business ties?
Won: Reinforcing our presence in Malaysia is an ongoing process, more so with the increasing portfolio of products, including mobile phones, consumer electronics and IT. This year alone, Samsung has introduced no less than 20 new products, including MP3 players, notebook computers and more recently, our latest range of Samsung Silver Nano Health System digital home appliances. Being a consumer-driven company, we will continue to introduce new and exciting products, capitalising on our past efforts to build the strong branding of Samsung.
We see ourselves playing a more active role in promoting the digital lifestyle for discerning consumers. Samsung has an extensive range of products and more are in the pipeline for Malaysians from all walks of life to learn how to take advantage of these new devices and use them to improve the quality of their lives. We see our efforts and product offerings complementing the Government’s efforts towards promoting a knowledge-based society.
Samsung is also working hand in hand with the telcos – Maxis and Celcom – and we will also be launching our range of 3G mobile phones in the coming months, including the world’s smallest mobile phone complete with multimedia functionalities such as wide-view LCD screen and rich sound, MP3 music and built-in camera.
In terms of business growth, we are looking at a 20% growth in sales this year from about US$300mil last year.
StarBiz: On a personal level, what has been the happiest moment for you so far this year as CEO of your company?
Won: During the recent visit to CeBIT 2005 in Hannover, I had the opportunity to witness the launch of Samsung’s latest plasma TVs, including the world’s largest measuring 102 inches.
None of the leading competitors had plasma TVs that are close in terms of technology advancements or size matching our latest plasma TVs. It is one of my proudest moments, seeing Samsung’s growing from strength to strength, and emerging as one of the world’s leading players in consumer electronics apart from mobile phones and IT.
Did you find this article insightful?