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New Samsung chief expects ‘tough year’ for handsets in 2016, but no major changes needed


Just a few days ago, Samsung replaced the head of its mobile division; removing JK Shin and replacing him with Koh Dong-jin. In his first interview as mobile division chief, Koh stated that he’s expecting 2016 to be a tough year for handset sales, but still believes that no major changes are needed just yet…

Although Koh believes that “no organizational overhaul” is required, it’s still very telling that Samsung opted to bring him in to take JK Shin’s place as the new head of mobile. Clearly a shift in focus is required as more, smaller companies keep flooding the market with inexpensive, but competitive, smartphones. Samsung is yet to adopt that approach, and still seemingly considers expensive, high-powered flagships as the best strategy.

As a result of multiple companies competing at the low end, and Apple dominating the high end, Samsung is left somewhere in the middle. Despite dominating global smartphone shipments this year, the company’s financial performance is dropping and its growth is stagnating.

Koh’s background in hardware design and engineering is a big part of his promotion to chief of mobile. It’s said that his focus will be on hardware. According to one Samsung spokesperson (reported by Korea Times), “Ko’s strengths are depth of experience and knowledge in hardware-centric arena, meaning Samsung Electronics will focus more on the hardware-driven path.”

The new president made his comments after a meeting with the company’s group heads in Seoul. Needless to say, reporters were keen to get any information on the upcoming Galaxy S7. Koh neither confirmed nor denied rumors that it would launch the next flagship smartphone ahead of schedule.

The S7 could very much be a make or break device for Samsung. If it fails to bring further growth and success to the Korean tech giant, one would assume that a drastic shift in strategy is required. Companies like Huawei are catching up fast with Sammy, and will only continue to succeed while they can afford to build great products at low prices. We could argue that Samsung really needs to turn its attention to the Chinese market, where the likes of Xiaomi and Huawei are dominating, and where Apple’s influence is steadily growing.

If the S7 fails to sell as Samsung would like it to, it may force the company to completely change the structure of its company, and streamlining its mobile executive team as it seeks to fend off the effects of slowing growth and sales.

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