HTC, the Taiwanese smartphone maker, has been fighting to turn around its plunging sales by learning lessons from Apple. First: spend on branding, which Apple does well and HTC does not. Second: don’t ship scratched phones, which Apple did when it first launched its iPhone 5.
To the dismay of investors and consumers, the launch of HTC’s newest smartphone has been delayed. The reason has been the difficulty producing the phone’s camera and metal back — compounded, says its marketing chief, by a desire to avoid Apple’s error and waste his newly-enlarged ad budget by annoying buyers with scuffed gadgets. Continue reading »
Taiwan smartphone maker HTC has, again, reported a sharp drop in monthly sales.
The year on year fall of 44 per cent in its February sales is unsurprising — executives last month warned revenues would slip this quarter — but the trouble at HTC is also part of a broader upheaval in the mobile market as even market leader Apple and its rivals now grapple with how to deal with what consumers want, and how much they’re willing to pay. Continue reading »
Here’s a moment in Asian corporate history: Samsung Electronics is buying a stake in Sharp, in the first investment by a South Korean group in a big Japanese company in consumer electronics, one of Japan’s flagship industries.
The deal announced on Wednesday is too small to revive the struggling Sharp: Samsung Electronics is investing only Y10.3bn and buying just 3 per cent. But it’s a sign that the South Koreans think Sharp has a future. At the very least, they want to secure a key source of LCD panels. Continue reading »
A toxic chemical leak at a Samsung plant in South Korea killed one worker and injured others, renewing concerns about safety at the technology giant.
Much like many of its manufacturing peers, the South Korean chaebol has already faced a series of accusations that it has failed to protect workers both at home in South Korea and abroad at its China factories. Continue reading »
Relations between Samsung and Apple reached a low point last year as they squared off in intellectual property disputes on four continents.
But this week gave the rivals something to bond over: each company reported strong growth in smartphone sales, only to watch investors rush for the exit. Continue reading »
When Apple’s share price gets slammed 10 per cent, its suppliers should all suffer too, shouldn’t they?
Well, not quite. On Thursday, Apple’s disappointing results led to some falls in its suppliers’ share prices. But none was hit as hard as Apple, and some even rose. Continue reading »
Who needs whom the most? Of the many battles being waged between Apple and Samsung, that over the supply relationship is perhaps the most intriguing. Apple is trying to move away from the South Korean company for its component sourcing. But Samsung appears ready to apply pressure, too.
The Chosun Ilbo, South Korea’s most-read daily, reported this week that that Samsung had raised the price of application processors sold to Apple by 20 per cent, while removing an executive in charge of a key Apple-related business. Continue reading »
The HTC skydivers ad really was a bad idea. The Taiwanese phonemaker is falling to earth pretty quickly, posting third-quarter revenues that are slightly more than half what they were in the same period in 2011. Third-quarter profits fell nearly 80 per cent – from T$18.7bn in 2011 to T$3.9bn ($133m) this year.
The company’s shares are also falling – down 58 per cent in the last year (and dropping slightly, around 1 per cent in line with the market on Monday before the results were announced). The problem is not that HTC has no good phones – it’s just that Apple and Samsung models are far more popular. Continue reading »
Gallons of ink have been spilled on the outlook for Samsung Electronics’ position in the US, after last month’s California court defeat to Apple.
But the technology giant is paying growing attention to the emerging consumer markets of the Middle East and Africa – as shown by its announcement this week of a new factory in Egypt, its first in the region. Continue reading »
Following Apple’s landmark US victory over Samsung last month in their high-profile technology disputes, rumours are rampant over their sourcing business relationship.
The rumours centre on Apple’s alleged diversification of its supply of microchips. Several media outlets reported on Friday that Apple dropped Samsung from its list of memory chip suppliers for the first batches of the much-anticipated iPhone 5, which is expected to be launched on Wednesday. Continue reading »
Samsung Electronics is mired in controversy over child labour, the last thing it needs following its high-profile legal defeat in the US over technology patents.
Samsung has rejected allegations that a Chinese supplier used child labour after conducting an internal inquiry. But the issue is still a headache for the South Korean technology giant. Continue reading »
When Korea Inc is found guilty of breaking rules on international technology rights, it makes headlines (see Apple vs Samsung). But in the background, there is a regular – and large – flow of royalty payments from Korean companies to their western counterparts.
Thanks to its exporters’ growing competitiveness, Korea’s current-account surplus totaled $19.85bn in the first seven months of this year. However, it continued to suffer a deficit in the balance of payments for patents and intellectual property rights, rising to $2.5bn in the same period. Continue reading »
Samsung’s legal defeat in California on Friday was a nasty PR moment for the South Korean tech behemoth: the jury ruled that Samsung had wilfully copied elements of Apple’s product design and user interface features, as it awarded a shade over $1bn in damages. Still, the near-7 per cent fall in Samsung’s share price on Monday morning was surprisingly sharp. Continue reading »
If you look at Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Motor, South Korean companies do not appear to be feeling the pinch of Europe’s debt crisis and the slowing global economy. But a deeper look at the rest of corporate Korea tells a different story.
Despite the global economic slowdown, Samsung’s operating profit surged 79 per cent to $5.9bn in the second quarter on the back of booming sales of its smartphones while Hyundai Motor reported an 18 per cent jump in second-quarter operating profit to Won2.5tn. But excluding the two companies, combined operating profits of 129 listed Korean companies plunged 44.6 per cent in the second quarter from a year earlier and their combined net profits shrank 59.2 per cent, according to market researcher FnGuide. Continue reading »
In financial terms, a $300m acquisition is no big deal for Samsung Electronics, given its $150bn market capitalisation. But in terms of technology, strategy and history, the South Korean group’s acquisition of the mobile business of UK-based CSR matters a lot.
As the company’s legal battles with Apple highlight, technology is crucial to Samsung’s future, as it moves from technological follower to technological leader in global markets. As the group itself has acknowledged, this applies in both hardware and software. Continue reading »