(MENAFN - Arab Times) Kuwait is a very dynamic and complicated market for Samsung where consumers are willing to pay higher amounts for better products which is evident across all segments ranging from TVs, smart phones, tablets, notebooks, smart cameras as well as desktop computers, said Raj Varma, General Manager for Samsung's IT Sales segment, as he spoke to Arab Times on the sidelines of the Samsung Middle East and Africa (MENA) Forum2013 held Monday at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Dubai. The four-day Samsung-MENA event, Feb 18-21, is the third to be held since its inception two years ago in 2011 and showcases new products and services that define Samsung's vision for the consumer electronics industry where technology enables consumers to discover a world of possibilities.
The product exhibition was opened by Sheikh Majid Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority and Juma Al Majid, Chairman of Juma Al Majid Group of Companies accompanied by Samsung's MENA president Kyung-tae Bae. In their presentations at the forum, various segment heads laid out Samsung's vision of creating new, richer experiences for consumers, through its deep understanding of the MENA region as well as its relentless pursuit of discovery and innovation. Commenting on the event, Kyung-tae Bae, Samsung's MENA president, said that thanks to the company's understanding of consumers and their lifestyles in the MENA region, Samsung has seen tremendous growth, achieving 65% sales growth in 2012 to stand as the leading electronics brand and plan to continue pushing the company forward in 2013. From Smart TVs that are redefining the TV experience to hyper-connected cameras, intelligent home appliances and the most versatile PCs, the Samsung regional product lineup reflects the company's commitment to delight consumers, bringing not just what they expect, but what they'd never dreamed was possible.
Samsung at the Forum, unveiled significant innovations, in Television, home appliances, connected cameras, PCs and printers, demonstrating how it is redefining product categories across virtually all of its product lines as well as reinvigorating the consumer electronics market with seamless content discovery, intuitive control and personalized user experiences. In 2012 Samsung demonstrated leadership across all of its categories including TV market, achieving 18% growth in revenue and 19% growth in unit sales in the entire region. Design in the TV segment has been Samsung's strong point; the South Korean electronics giant came to the number one position by changing the concept of what the TV should be looking like, not just one piece of the living room furniture.
"You'll see more and more demand this year for bigger sized screens, trending especially towards 40inch, 46inch and larger sizes and we're offering all those products consumers are expecting and hope to continue the same trend this year", said Vinod Nair, Samsung's General Manager for TV Business. With 30% market share in Samsung TVs and 38% value wise in the Middle East and North Africa region, Kuwait stands out as a major dependable market for Samsung. But regarding the strategy for growth in the TV segment, Nair's solution was simply, "supply what the consumer wants; there's a lot of demand for high-end products in Kuwait, so the high-end lineup is being boosted with even the 85in coming to the Kuwaiti market shortly".
The prime mover top-of-the-line product currently in Kuwait is the 55inch followed closely by 46inch and 32in both regular and smarts. He said the idea of a smart TV is to enable the consumer to "watch what you want when you want it".
As part of Samsung's offer of a new world of possibilities in home entertainment, the company at the forum launched its flagship F8000 LED TV, the first Samsung TV to feature a quad-core processor. Available in sizes up to 75-inch, the F8000 features an ultra-thin profile, a quarter inch thick bezel and a wave-inspired arc stand that makes the TV look as if it's simply floating in the air.
The Samsung 85-inch Ultra High Definition (UHD) TV, 85S9 was also introduced. It spots a stunning timeless gallery design that sets a new standard for TV craftsmanship. It offers four times the resolution of Full HD displays to deliver unmatched picture detail and clarity.
Another interesting revelation was the new Smart Hub which intelligently organizes a viewer's content into clear, dynamic menu panels that include Apps, photos, Videos & music and social to provide a simple, more intuitive way to discover and experience television.
It also has enhanced motion control capabilities which make navigating Smart Hub's three panels convenient and fun with a simple flip motion. Thanks to Samsung's leadership in connectivity, TV viewers can now use their mobile devices as remote controls or simultaneously enjoy two different pieces of content from a TV or Blu-Ray on a second screen.
Another interesting 2013 revelation was the Evolution Kit which when connected to a regular Samsung TV, can make immediately available to users access to the latest offerings of Samsung Smart TV including quad-core and the newly updated Smart Hub. Exclusive to the MENA region, Samsung and content partner OSN launched a new platform called OSN Pay which allows consumers to watch TV online anytime anywhere with a variety of devices.
To deliver an audio performance to match the company's screen excellence, Samsung unveiled the HT-F9750W, the electronics giant's flagship 7.1 channel Home Theater system that is a perfect companion to its 2013 Smart TVs and the HW-F751 at the Forum. The system features 1,330 watt sound system for unprecedented sound quality and exceptional viewing experience.
The HW-F751 on the other hand, is Samsung's first Air-Track, a sound bar that can connect to a TV via Bluetooth or double as a wireless speaker for smart phones or tablets.
Samsung's handheld gadget growth in Kuwait for 2012 has been phenomenal-a whopping 340%, with the smart phone segment leading the charge. Since Kuwait is a high-end market setting itself apart from other parts of the world, Young-Woo Jun, Samsung's Director of Communication or Handheld gadgets segment, said Samsung's strategy for growth in the oil-rich nation would be to offer better product portfolios to suit Kuwaiti customers' needs and aspirations. For his part, Raj Varma, Samsung GM for IT Sales segment in the GCC, said it's important that consumers are made aware of what's in store for the coming year, what technologies are on offer, the products rolling out, enabling all stake holders have a firsthand experience.
Kuwait is the biggest market for Samsung IT products after UAE and the most interesting part of the story, according to Varma, is that the consumer perception of the brand is very strong with the strongest demand trending in favor of the premium products.
Consumers in Kuwait are willing to pay higher amounts for better products, which is evident across all segments from TVs, smart phones, tablets, notebooks, smart cameras as well as desktop computers. "Kuwait is a very dynamic and complicated market for us", said Varma.
Another top-of-the-line product at the show was the new Samsung refrigerator (RT38) powered by Samsung's Digital Inverter Compressor and built with durability in mind. Also in the washer category was Samsung's new Samsung Eco-Bubble washer (WF80F5E) uses its unique bubble generator to create bubbles that are mixed with detergent.
Additionally, Samsung announced its Smart Oven (MC32F606), which comes equipped with expert cooking capabilities to change and enhance the way families eat. The Smart Oven makes it easier to follow a nutritious and balanced diet, thanks to its smart sensor cooking and features like pre-programmed recipes, a yogurt maker and slim fry setting.
In the camera segment, Samsung is delivering the latest and greatest camera technology and driving change in the digital imaging landscape with the unveiling of the newest in its NX-range, the NX300 which blends highly functional and simplified Wi-Fi sharing with exceptional image quality, fast Hybrid Auto Focus, and 3D still and video capture. The NX300 is complemented by the new Samsung NX 45mm F1.8 2D/3D lens, the first one-lens 3D system for a consumer camera, capable of capturing both still pictures and full 1080p HD video.
Samsung's new PC line-up in the MENA region consists of two new devices that combine powerful performance with design excellence. The powerful new Series-7 Chronos and the portable Series-7 Ultra Notebook are equipped to handle both work and entertainment applications.
The new Series 7 Chronos delivers a professional performance in a thinner and lighter form factor, with a quad-core performance, as well as a new software solution called RAM-accelerator, which provides up to a 150 percent increase in speed for browsing and running apps, to act as a true desktop replacement.
The Series 7 Ultra embodies superior mobility and performance in an ultra-slim and light, full aluminum body.
Combining an eight hour battery life, a beautiful 13.3-inch Full HD display with a 10-point multi-touch screen, aluminum frame, a i5 / i7 CPU for fast-processing and up to 256GB SSD of storage, this PC provides the computing power required by even the most demanding users; and like the Series-7 Chronos, it will run on Windows 8.
In addition, Samsung introduced its ATIV Smart PC line-up to the Middle East and North Africa. The ATIV Smart PC and the ATIV Smart PC Pro combine exquisite craftsmanship on the exterior with unmatched performance, featuring the versatility of Windows 8 OS and compatibility with Windows 7.
Adding to the powerful mobility products, Samsung underscored its leading position in the global monitor market with the introduction of the Series-7 Touch(SC770), which is Samsung's first multi-touch display optimized for Windows 8. Supporting up to 10 points of simultaneous multi-touch, users can drag, rotate or select objects on the monitor using their fingers.
Samsung also highlighted at the forum, how innovation in the B2B market can facilitate change in the era of e-learning, or Smart Education.There is much interest and investment from governments around the world in Smart Education, and in the Middle East and North Africa, Samsung is helping to fuel this investment by bringing Smart Education experiences to schools throughout the region.
Samsung will be equipping five demonstration classes in four countries with easy-to-use, immersive technologies, such as Note PCs, e-boards and mobile solutions. Also, more than 6,000 online textbooks will be available via an open market content platform.
Beyond education, Samsung also announced the results of its joint study with research leaders IDG regarding the attitudes of IT executives and consumers toward 'bring-your-own-device (BYOD)' to work policies. The results revealed that an overwhelming majority of IT executives believe that BYOD programs will become standard in business within the next two years, and consumers expect the mobile device to be the primary computing device for work within five years.
By Iddris Seidu - Arab Times Staff