Venezuela and North Korea would appear to be good buddies. However, perhaps it is in the south of the Korean peninsula where real partnership lies.
This week Samsung Electronics and the government of Venezuela announced they signed an agreement to form a joint venture to make consumer electronics and home appliances. Given the way electronics retailers have been treated recently, it’s amazing anyone would want to do business with Caracas.
Wedesday’s fire in SK Hynix‘s plant in China is a big setback for the South Korean company – but it may prove to be a fillip for the D-Ram industry, as the blaze will reduce chip output and boost chip prices in the short term.
Samsung Group “is not a legal entity”, we read on the website of Samsung Electronics. Rather, it is merely “a term to conveniently refer to a group of companies tied together by their corporate history”.
This has not stopped Samsung Asset Management from creating an exchange-traded fund made up of shares in various members of the quasi-existent South Korean group, ranging from mighty Samsung Electronics to less celebrated bearers of the brand such as Samsung Fine Chemicals and Samsung Techwin.
Samsung Electronics’ new Galaxy S4 smartphone has smashed the company’s sales records – but that hasn’t been enough to prevent a nasty slide of nearly 9 per cent in its shares over the past three trading days.
The immediate trigger for the slide appears to have been a cautionary broker’s note on Friday from analysts at JPMorgan, who said third-quarter sales of the Galaxy S4 would undershoot their previous expectations.
Samsung Electronics is on a roll thanks to the huge popularity of its latest smartphone. The Galaxy S4 has sold 10m units within a month of its release, making it Samsung’s fastest-selling smartphone ever – the Galaxy S4 reached the 10m mark in half the time taken by its predecessor.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.