Samsung unveils printer plans

Samsung has aggressive plans to overhaul HP in the Middle East printer market as the Korean vendor looks to impose itself on the global digital imaging industry.

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By  Matthew Southwell Published  October 3, 2004

Samsung has aggressive plans to overhaul HP in the Middle East printer market as the Korean vendor looks to impose itself on the global digital imaging industry. Key to this plan is a duel pronged attack, which focuses on both branding and its own R&D. In terms of the latter, Samsung is already working on its own technology, which means it will no longer need to use patents and engines from other printer manufactures to develop its products. “HP is like a mammoth in the printing market, but we are a baby. We have just started out but we will grow fast. We have our own technology and next year we will produce an ink jet printer engine of our own. This means we will be using our own technology so we will not have to pay the huge fees for other patents,” says Lee Byung-Woo, vice president, Samsung Electronics. “This will save us money and we will be able to pass this saving onto our customers. HP has about 70% of the market worldwide and our market share is only in the single digits but that is growing and very quickly.” According to Hyundae Shin, vice president of Samsung’s digital printing division, the vendor is already the number one printer vendor in six countries. Furthermore, he says business is growing quickly and products such as the world’s smallest multifunctional device, which is being demonstrated in hall two, are persuading customers to convert to Samsung products. “From this year onwards we will really be pushing our printer business. We have been setting up the infrastructure we need, as well as building relationships with our customers,” Shin says. “Now that all this is in place we will be able to grow faster than HP and get products to market quicker because we have our own printing engine that we have developed,” he adds. Despite Samsung’s lofty ambitions, neither HP nor the region’s other established printer vendors are particularly concerned. For instance, Amr Hassan, general manager of the imaging & printing group at HP Middle East, says HP not only has the market pedigree and customer relationships it needs to maintain its lead, but it also continues to pump US$6 billion per year into its R&D facilities to ensure end users get the best digital imaging products possible. “Working in a competitive environment is nothing new for HP and we continue to invest in R&D. We currently have 9000-plus patents and in addition to the technology we continue to work closely with our customers,” Hassan says. “We continue to be dedicated to the market and we will maintain our market leadership,” he adds. Over at Epson Middle East, general manager Khalil El-Dalu welcomes Samsung’s bold move into the printer market. He believes extra competition is a good thing — both for vendors and for end users. “Competition is always there and we have plans in the pipeline to make Epson even stronger,” says El-Dalu. “Our engineers are developing more new technology and printing engines. There are not many players in the printing market and we welcome any competition,” he adds.

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