Displaying items by tag: Samsung
Under the watchful gaze of Samsung Electronics security personnel, health and safety staffer Ko Jee-hun stood outside his semiconductor plant, handing out leaflets touting the benefits of joining a trade union.
For almost 50 years the firm avoided unionisation of its employees -- sometimes adopting ferocious tactics according to critics -- while rising to become the world's largest smartphone and semiconductor manufacturer.
It is the flagship subsidiary of the giant Samsung Group, by far the biggest of the family-controlled conglomerates, known as "chaebol", that dominate the world's 11th-largest economy.
But last week local authority officials in Suwon, where the chipmaker is headquartered, certified the National Samsung Electronics Union.
It is affiliated to the powerful Federation of Korean Trade Unions umbrella group (FKTU), and analysts say the move could spell trouble down the line for the firm. Ko is the union's deputy general secretary. "What's at stake here is more than wages," he said as he mounted a recruitment drive this week. "We demand communication and to have our voices heard. Because we are not just components."
The leaflets he handed out showed a series of cartoon characters complaining about issues from holidays and lunch breaks to forced early retirement and unexplained bonus reductions. "The real union has arrived," it proclaimed, with a link and QR codes for employees to sign up.
The security guards would not let him stand directly outside the factory gate in Hwaseong, about 50 kilometres (30 miles) south of Seoul, forcing him to take up a position at the next intersection -- but almost all passers-by took a copy.
"The fight has just only begun," Ko said. Ahead of its formal establishment the union registered 400 expressions of interest from Samsung Electronics employees, the FKTU says.
The new group has set itself a goal of signing up 10,000 members – almost 10 percent of the workforce -- which analysts say could see it demand a right to collective bargaining.
Samsung's founder Lee Byung-chul, who died in 1987, was adamantly opposed to unions, saying he would never allow them "until I have dirt over my eyes".
Internal documents from 2012 obtained by a South Korean MP instructed managers to control "problematic personnel" seeking to establish unions.
"To avoid claims of unfair labour practices, dismiss key organisers before the launch of a union," it read, among other recommendations.
But organisers have seized the opportunity presented by the left-leaning government of President Moon Jae-in -- a former rights lawyer who represented trade unions -- and controversy around the bribery trial of the company's vice-chairman Lee Jae-yong, the founder's grandson.
It also faces challenges from the US-China trade war and export restrictions imposed by Tokyo on key supplies as part of a dispute with Seoul over wartime forced labour. "The level of repression is much weaker now than before," said the union's Ko. "I think the company is being cautious over possible repercussions." Samsung Electronics declined to comment to AFP.
Samsung's share price soared in 2016-7 and a staffer who asked to be identified only as Kim welcomed the union's establishment personally, hoping for higher year-end bonuses and other benefits.
But the global chip market has since seen a prolonged downturn and Kim also feared the union's possible impact when even small production delays "could result in a significant loss of market share".
"Waging a collective strike could be fatal," he added.
Samsung Electronics' no-union policy was "anachronistic", but it could now end up following "in the footsteps of Hyundai Motor embroiled in strikes every year", the Korea Times warned in an editorial.
Higher labour costs could also impact its business model, which is based on large-scale, long term investments, said Sejong University business professor Kim Dae-jong.
"With the labour union, it could find it much harder to carry out large investments with finances diverted to pay for increased wages," he said.
Three unions were set up at Samsung last year, but none of them had the backing of a bigger federation and fizzled after attracting only a handful of members.
Samsung needed to move with the times and acknowledge that standards had changed since its founder's time, said Chun Soon-ok, a labour campaigner and former MP whose brother burned himself to death in 1970 in protest at brutal working conditions in the textile industry. Unions also needed to move on from previous militancy, Chun added.
In the past, unions and management "saw each other as competitors to knock down in a boxing ring", she said. "But the 21st century requires them to dance together in partnership."
Research from Canalys has indicated signs of a growth in mobile device sales in the third quarter of the year. This increase is seen after two years of a decline in shipments. Global smartphone shipments have increased by 1% in Q3 2019.
Samsung shipped the greatest number of smartphones, at 78.9 million devices, a rise of 11 per cent, compared to the corresponding period the year prior.
Huawei recovered from a weak second quarter and was second with 66.8 million units, up 29%, to gain 19% of the market. In its home market alone, Huawei shipped 41.5 million smartphones to reach a record market share of 42%, an annual growth of 66%.
While most of its growth was attributed to its performance in China, it also saw growth in overseas markets with volumes increasing 3.8 million over the quarter to 25.3 million due to a rise in demand during the pause in procurement in Q2.
By contrast, and mainly by weak performance of the iPhone XR, XS and XS Max in the lead up to its September launch event, Apple shipped 43.5 million units, an annual decline of 7%, leading to 12.3% of the market. This is an improvement on Q1 and Q2, which saw double digit declines.
Vincent Thielke, Canalys research analyst said that while the iPhone 11 launched to strong reviews, the lack of 5G in any of Apple’s products will hurt it in early 2020.
“It will miss out on heavy operator investment in 5G marketing and promotions, and the wide expectation for Apple to launch a 5G iPhone in September 2020 may convince some customers to delay purchasing, to ensure their device is future-proof,” Thielke said.
The US manufacturer of superchips that powers our smartphones has seen its shares plummet following an antitrust ruling.
South Korean conglomerate Samsung has announced that they will conduct an investigation into its Galaxy Fold phones following a series of complaints.
The world’s No.1 smartphone vendor confirmed that it will inspect units of its much vaunted foldable smartphone after a number of reviewers reported screen damage.
A handful of US-based reporters were given the flagship Galaxy Fold phones, priced at $1,980, ahead of the model's official release next week. However, they reported screen issues within days of using the devices which set alarms bell ringing in Seoul. Samsung are still scarred by the issues it endured with the Galaxy Note 7. It was forced to recall all of its units after reports the devices were overheating and in some incidents were self-combusting.
Below is a snapshot of what some of the reviewers wrote about Samsung’s new flagship smartphone.
“The screen on my Galaxy Fold review unit is completely broken and unusable just two days in," Bloomberg's Mark Gunman tweeted. Dieter Bohn of The Verge said: "Something happened to my Galaxy Fold screen and caused a bulge. It's broken."
Samsung spent nearly eight years developing the Galaxy Fold, which is part of the South Korean tech giant's strategy to propel growth with groundbreaking gadgets.
“We will thoroughly inspect these units in person to determine the cause of the matter," Samsung said in a statement after reports of the screen damage emerged. The main display on the Galaxy Fold features a top protective layer, which is part of the display structure designed to protect the screen from unintended scratches. Removing the protective layer or adding adhesives to the main display may cause damage. We will ensure this information is clearly delivered to our customers."
Some of the reviewers, including Bloomberg's Gunman, had removed this layer. CNBC's Steve Kovach said he had not, but still faced major problems with the device. Samsung is the world's biggest smartphone maker, and earlier this month launched the 5G version of its top-end Galaxy S10 device.
South Korean conglomerate Samsung has unveiled its ambitious strategy to enhance its market share in the US by launching three new retails stores nationwide.
Samsung officially announced that it will open the new retail facilities as it gears up to launch an updated version of its flagship Galaxy handsets in the United States.
Some consumer experts are also claiming that the marketing strategy adopted by Samsung indicates clearly that the Seoul-based behemoth is directly challenging Apple in its domestic market.
Samsung said in a detailed statement that it made the move based on feedback from its customers.
The statement said, "They told us that they love having the ability to walk into a store and experience how the latest technology from Samsung works together to create a unique, immersive experience. Galaxy fans, in particular, mentioned that they were looking for a space to call their own, a place where they can get a feel for Samsung products first-hand."
It was further disclosed that the new stores will be located at the Americana at Brand mall in Los Angeles; Roosevelt Field in Garden City, New York; and The Galleria in Houston, Texas.
In addition to this, Samsung is holding a product launch in San Francisco amidst speculation it may launch a folding smartphone, which would make it the first of the major handset makers in the segment.
President of Samsung Electronics America, YH Eom, expressed his delight at the announcements and said the decision would solidify Samsung’s position as the world’s most popular smartphone manufacturer.
He said, “Our new Samsung Experience Stores are spaces to experience and see Samsung technology brought to life, to empower people to do what they never thought was possible before. We want to build a 'playground' for Samsung fans -- a place to learn about and try out all of the amazing new products we have to offer."
Samsung remained the number one global handset maker with a 20.8 percent share in 2018 despite an eight percent sales slump for the year, according to research firm IDC -- which also said last year showed the worst overall decline in sales for the smartphone sector.
US chipmaker Qualcomm has robustly defended its business practices as the antitrust lawsuit against them draws to a close.
In their closing testimony Qualcomm declared that the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) had ultimately failed to prove that the chipmaker’s business practices had harmed its competitors during the course of the trial.
FTC have alleged that Qualcomm used its market dominance in its smartphone chip development to force phone suppliers to pay higher patent licensing fees, in other words it claims the company which is headquartered in San Diego had an unfair monopoly.
Both parties now must wait for the ruling from the judiciary, although reports have suggested that the decision is not likely to be delivered any time soon.
In a statement which summarized Qualcomm’s closing argument in court, the company’s EVP and general counsel Don Rosenberg said the FTC hasn’t come close to meeting its burden of proof in this case.
Rosenberg said, “All real-world evidence presented at trial showed how Qualcomm’s years of R&D and innovation fostered competition, and growth for the entire mobile economy to the benefit of consumers around the world.”
In addition to this, Rosenberg highlighted that Qualcomm’s licensing rates were established long before it had set up its lucrative chip business and accurately reflected the value of its comprehensive patent portfolio.
The FTC closed their arguments by stressing to the judiciary that the powerful chipmaker had used its muscle and dominance in the 3G and 4G chip market to force smartphone manufacturers like Apple to sing licensing agreements with excessively high royalties.
Prosecutors on behalf of FTC argued this approach would continue in the 5G era if Qualcomm isn’t stopped.
During the trial, the FTC called witnesses from a number of handset companies including Apple, Samsung, Intel and Huawei to testify that Qualcomm had used unfair practices, harming competition in the industry.
SK Telecom and Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) announced they have developed a 5G antenna control technology and have filed for a patent.
SK Telecom is preparing for the rollout of 5G in March in South Korea with compatriots KT and LG uplus.
It is collaborating extensively with ally Samsung Electronics in 5G equipment research, as well as Hyundai and Trimble to develop construction monitoring solutions that improve overall efficiency. The company excluded Huawei equipment from its list of vendors in September 2018.
The call quality is maintained in ultra-high 28GHz spectrum 5G by controlling the electrical characteristic of the antenna. Ultra-high frequency reception sensitivity can be affected by how users hold their smartphones or the angle of their head but the new technology has been developed to offset that. Power consumption of smartphones also decreases due to increased reception sensitivity.
Ultra-high spectrum such as 28GHz requires components to be placed in a smaller area compared to LTE, with SK Telecom and POSTECH. This was taken into account when finishing testing for commercial launch.
It follows news that SK Telecom and Sinclair Broadcast Group will invest $33 million into a joint venture that will develop next-generation broadcasting solutions, will allow faster data transmission for high resolution broadcasting, as well as the combining of broadcasting and telecommunications spectrum.
US technology behemoth Apple has signed a new agreement with Samsung in relation to its streaming and content services in an effort to offset a decline in iPhone sales. The deal brokered between Apple and the South Korean conglomerate will enable the use of iTunes streaming services on Samsung smart TVs.
Google is set to expand its virtual telecommunication service “Google Fi” to a wider range of devices, including Samsung and iPhones. The service had been previously limited to select Android-powered smartphones, and to newer Pixel handsets made by Google.
"Our plan now works with the majority of Android devices and iPhones," Fi director Simon Arscott said in a blog post, who promises a simple pricing scheme that makes the Fi wireless experience “fast, easy and fair”.
Fi - previously known as Project Fi - works by hopping between carriers; shifting smartphone service between Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular, and Wi-Fi hotspots to provide optimal signals, says Google. Launched in 2015, Fi offers its US users unlimited domestic call and texts, plus texting internationally, for $20.
The service will let users pay based on how much data they use and allow for international roaming in up to 170 countries and territories.
India’s smartphone market has finally seen a change at the top, with Chinese vendor Xiaomi now leading with shipments close to 8.2 million units in Q4 2017, according to research firm Canalys. Despite annual growth of 17%, South Korea’s Samsung failed to maintain its lead, shipping just over 7.3 million smartphones to take second place.
The smartphone market in India grew by a modest 6% overall, in line with Canalys forecasts, following the seasonal dip as vendors and channel partners take stock after a busy Q3. Vivo, Oppo and Lenovo rounded out the top five, while total smartphone shipments were just shy of 30 million units.
“Xiaomi’s persistence has paid off,” said Ishan Dutt, Canalys Research Analyst. “Its results are commendable, given it entered the market just three years ago. Multiple factors have contributed to Xiaomi’s growth, but the key reason for its current success lies in the autonomy that it granted its Indian unit, letting it run the business locally. Localization in channel strategy, marketing and products has been evident in Xiaomi’s Indian operations.”
Together, the top two vendors now command more than 50% of the smartphone market in India, with market leader Xiaomi at 27% and second-place Samsung at 25%.
“Samsung’s loss comes from its inability to transform its low-cost product portfolio,” said Rushabh Doshi, Analyst. “It has been unable to win over cost-conscious consumers, losing market share in the sub-INR15,000 (US$240) segment to Xiaomi quarter after quarter.”
Despite Samsung’s ability to offer better margins and funding to the offline channel, consumer demand for its devices has been weak, Doshi adds. But it has far superior R&D, and a better hold on the supply chain due to its strong components business.
“The power struggle between Xiaomi and Samsung will continue well into 2018, as Samsung revamps its low-cost portfolio and fights to take back the aspirational status it once held in minds of Indian consumers.”
Xiaomi’s success in India will have far-reaching implications for its worldwide strategy, giving a big boost to its overseas ambitions. Considerable business in the world’s largest two smartphone markets will build confidence in its partners as well as future investors.
“But growth in 2018 will be hard to come by,” added Doshi. “As Xiaomi’s market share reaches saturation point in India, and the market continues to shrink in China, it must contend with slower growth for its smartphone business as it begins to expand in other countries.”