Samsung Distribution Network

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It's been a long while since H B Lee really relaxed. Since last February, when he took over in New Delhi as President and CEO of Samsung, South West Asia, the 58-year-old Lee has been busy turning all Samsung strategies on their heads.

The Korean consumer electronics giant is now reaching deeper and wider into the Indian market, tempting consumers with technologically advanced products specially tailored to their needs.

Showrooms are being brought under a common umbrella brand and now, a new facility may well become a manufacturing hub for Samsung worldwide. Not that Lee views his "strategy revitalisation" effort as an attempt to change things. "What we adopted in 2007 was not really a change in strategy but an evolution of our strategy," he insists.

Surely not? Over the past decade, Samsung has clung to its premium positioning, with products that emphasised design, aesthetics and cutting-edge technology and prices that were commensurately higher. Until now. For the first time, it is moving downwards, so much so that industry observers believe Samsung may go after the masses much like its arch rival LG Electronics did until a couple of years ago: already, Samsung flat televisions are among the cheapest in the market.

Samsung India Deputy Managing Director, Ravinder Zutshi, vehemently rejects the price warrior tag, though. "Samsung is not a price warrior but today we are as competitively priced as our rivals. The focus is on expansion and deeper market penetration," he says.

So, which is it? Evolutionary or radical change in strategy? Decide for yourself.

Volumes do matter

In 2005, Samsung introduced over 100 new products that were sold on the lifestyle platform. These included flat panel, LCD and plasma TVs [Get Quote], top-end refrigerators, home theatre systems, digital cameras and camcorders, MP3 players, notebook computers and mobile phones.

At the time, sceptics argued that growth targets based on premium products rather than on...
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