Samsung Targets Apple’s Soft Spot in China

 Samsung Targets Apple's Soft Spot in ChinaSamsung is making a big push for its flagship new smartphone in China. The company held a media event this week on Haixinsha Island in Guangzhou, the venue for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2010 Asian Games, with about 2,500 invited guests in attendance, to showcase the Galaxy S9 and S9+ smartphones.

The devices were officially unveiled at the Mobile World Congress last month, and will hit the market in mid-March. Sporting a more sophisticated biometric authentication system combining iris and facial recognition, and improved camera and AI systems, the devices have already won considerable acclaim, with the Galaxy S9+ having taken MWC’s Global Mobile Award for “Best New Connected Device”. But with the device yet to hit the market, the award for “Best Smartphone 2017” went to Apple’s iPhone X.

Apple is, of course, Samsung’s main rival in the smartphone sector, and that may be why the latter is placing such a strong focus on China. It represents a huge market, and one in which Apple is struggling, with the iPhone X thought to have seen particularly disappointing sales in the region since its launch.

Speaking at the Haixinsha Island event, Samsung’s mobile head, DJ Koh, asserted that the company “is poised to meet the unique needs of Chinese customers”; and in a statement the company emphasized its ‘active cooperation’ with China-based partners including Alibaba, Baidu, Jingdong, Mobike, Tencent, and WeChat, as well as its introduction of Mandarin Chinese support for its voice-based AI assistant platform, Bixby. The company also pointed to its China-based R&D and production facilities, which reflect “the company’s commitment in the region.”

Of course, it’s a fair bet that in China just as everywhere else, it’s the quality and price of the device that matters most; and if Chinese consumers are enthusiastic about the Galaxy S9 and S9+, the devices’ sales should make that pretty clear in the coming weeks.