Samsung confident of staying on top in hot phone market

Zarni Win Htet, head of the information technology and mobile group at Samsung Myanmar, says his company is well-placed to solidify its position at the forefront of the country’s mobile phone market.

With its mobile phones gaining in popularity in Myanmar, Samsung is also in a better position to capture more of the market because of recent moves by the government to enforce tax regulations, and an ongoing spat with Google having hobbled its closest competitor, Huawei.

All this is happening at a time when local affluence is rising and more Myanmar people are using the internet. Also, 85 percent of the local population uses smartphones.

According to Ko Zarni Win Htet, with its popular A, Note and S-series handsets, Samsung has captured about a quarter of the mobile phone market in Myanmar. The company’s main competitors areHuawei, Apple, Xiaomi and Oppo.

In fact, Samsung told local media it expects mobile phone sales to hit US$500 million (K762.9 billion) this year, and a 10pc increase in sales.

Its most popular phone

The company’s strategy is to offer products that are affordable for everyone. “We are researching and monitoring consumer behaviour constantly to gauge the type of products to offer. Our aim is to retain our market leadership in Myanmar. So far, our A-series phone is the best seller because of its price and customer appeal,” he said.

In Myanmar, the cheapest mobile phone costs K100,000 to K200,000. Someone buying a mobile phone for K100,000 pays an extra K5000 for the 5pc tax.

He said the Myanmar market is always changing. “The way of using mobile phones in Myanmar is changing. As long as someone’s income and lifestyle are improving, they will buy more good quality products and services,” he said.

With customer service in mind, Samsung has customer service centres in all states and regions, except Chin and Rakhine. There are over 50 Samsung showrooms, and a 24-hour customer call centre.

“We hope to maintain Samsung’s lead in Myanmar’s phone market in the next three years by continuing to introduce good quality products and services that local people want,” he added.

Ko Zarni Win Htet said the Myanmar government’s recent move to enforce a 5pc commercial tax on mobile phones and accessories will not affect Samsung’s customers.

The Internal Revenue Department (IRD) announced last month that starting on June 1, buyers would need to pay the tax at the time of purchase, and tax stamps would be affixed to their receipts.

The new tax, separate from the import tax paid by importers, is levied only on buyers. Retailers who collect the tax then repay it to the department.

‘‘The 5pc commercial tax is for mobile phone retailers. If companies import each item for K100, they only pay tax on K100. The new tax is levied on the additional sales value of the phone,” IRD Director General U Min Htut said.

Tax won’t affect Samsung buyers

“Samsung already pays import fees as well as other tariffs and taxes imposed by the government, so buyers will not pay additional taxes. There will be no price hike on Samsung products,” Ko Zarni Win Htet said.

For Samsung, though, high taxes are a problem in Myanmar, especially when illegal traders can sell the same product much cheaper by skirting taxes. Samsung imports the bulk of its phones from Vietnam and China to reduce costs, but even so, it is hard to compete with the black market.

That’s an issue the government needs to fix, he said.

Nevertheless, the firm is investing more money in its two core business areas – mobile phones and consumer electronics. The former accounts for 80pc of Samsung Myanmar’s business, while the latter makes up the remaining 20pc.

To build a good reputation in the local community, Samsung will not only focus on profits, but also carry out educational, youth and job opportunity programmes in Myanmar, Ko Zarni Win Htet said. – Translated

Source: Myanmar Timse

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