(Yicai Global) March 7 -- Samsung Electronics Co. released the latest generation of its flagship Galaxy handset in China yesterday, and the firm is expected to intensify its competition with major domestic player Huawei Technologies Co. to be the world's number one smartphone brand.
While Shenzhen-based Huawei seeks to expand into the North American market, the Korean phone maker has set ambitious targets for the world's largest smartphone market, and a new race is looming between the two Asian giants.
Samsung shipped more handsets than any other company globally in the fourth quarter of 2017, achieving a market share of 18.2 percent, while Huawei ranked third with a 10.8 percent share, a report from Gartner Inc states. However, in the Chinese market, Samsung held a market share of just 2.2 percent for last year trailing the main domestic brands including Huawei and Xiaomi Inc, which account for a combined 87 percent share.
Samsung spent a long time during a key release event for the Galaxy S9 and S9+ handsets in Guangzhou touting the phone's camera. It comes with a dual aperture of f/1.5 and f/2.4. Changes in aperture size are clearly visible underneath the lens, similar to the varying size of the pupil in response to changes in light exposure. Other features include a Qualcomm 845 Platform, a state-of-the-art three-dimensional processor and stereo speakers.
The firm also promoted increased localized services such as mobile payment and shopping functions as other key features of the new phones. The S9 features enhanced Internet of Things services, and includes JD Quick Pass, the new touch-and-go service jointly launched by China UnionPay Co. and JD.Com Inc., allowing users to travel by subway without buying physical tickets.
Samsung's virtual assistant Bixby is capable of performing tasks that would otherwise require 50 apps, the firm says. It covers 42 consumer services and offers exclusive cashback deals to users. It also can track shipments automatically to improve user experience.
"The prices are way too high," commented one Huawei employee in a reply to a message about S9's release posted by Yicai Global. He argued that in order to regain lost market share in China, Samsung needs to offer flagship models at more attractive prices. The 64 gigabyte- and 128 gigabyte-versions of the S9 are priced at CNY5,799 and CNY6,099, respectively, far higher than the average price of Chinese counterparts.