Samsung eyes China comeback

Samsung eyes China comeback
A man tries the new Samsung Galaxy Note8 smartphone during a launch event, August 23, 2017 in New York City. The Galaxy Note8 will be released in stores on September 15.

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd hopes to regain consumer confidence and rejuvenate sluggish sales in China after the Note 7 debacle, with the launch of its latest premium smartphone Galaxy Note 8 on Wednesday.

The new flagship Galaxy Note 8 boasts a 6.3-inch super AMOLED display with a bezel-less design, and a dualcamera setup, as well as biometric authentication options, including iris and fingerprint scanning.

Samsung claimed the handset has a safer battery as it has undergone safety checks.

The move is also the followup to last year's disastrous Note 7, which was recalled due to a faulty battery with a tendency to catch fire, and the company's latest response to its sagging fortunes in the China market.

In March, Samsung unveiled its flagship smartphones Galaxy S8 and S8+.

However, the company faces fierce competition from local rivals, such as Huawei Technologies Co's P10 and P10 Plus and Xiaomi Corp's Mi Mix 2, and the much-anticipated iPhone X rolled out by Apple Inc, the biggest leap forward since the original iPhone.

A report from Counterpoint Technology Market Research said domestic smartphone brands took 87 per cent of the Chinese smartphone market in the second quarter, and the top four Chinese brands-Huawei, Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi-have close to 69 per cent of the market.

In contrast, the market share of Samsung in China shrunk to 3 per cent in Q2 from 7 per cent last year, slipping to sixth place behind its Chinese competitors and Apple.

"We still need a period of time to see whether Note 8 could restore Chinese consumers' trust and give a boost to the South Korean tech giant's overall China sales," said Hattie He, a smartphone analyst at Canalys.

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