Samsung Electronics unveiled four new smartphone models under its flagship Galaxy line on Wednesday, expanding its offerings of cheaper phones to tap growth in emerging markets.
Samsung will enter a lower-end market ripe with cut-throat competition from Chinese producers including ZTE Corp and Huawei Technologies, as well as a host of no-brand producers pumping out hundreds of millions of phones for consumers in China, Africa and other developing economies.
The move also signals an intensifying battle with Apple, Samsung's biggest competitor and customer, as the US firm is set to launch a lower-cost version of the iPhone 4 and its much-anticipated iPhone 5 soon, said sources.
"Smartphone makers are increasingly moving down the value chain to target the low-end segment and attract mass customers, especially those in China and India," said Lee Seung-woo, analyst, Shinyoung Securities.
"It's an inevitable trend but will at the same time lower margins. Only a handful of top-tier manufacturers can survive in that end," he said.