This year, buoyed up by widening brand recognition, solid growing sales and retailers support, Samsung is expected to overtake Sony as the world’s top brand in consumer electronics.

With its brand value increasing from $10,846 million to $12,553 million (16 per cent) in 2004, Samsung became

the world’s 21st best global brand immediately behind Sony ($12.759 million) on the list of the Best Global Brands drawn in the United States last year by Interbrand Corp.

Last week in Montreal, Bob Park, manager, Information Technology Marketing with Samsung told a gathering of some 34 computer retailers from Ontario and Quebec that Samsung would overtake Sony this year “if this has not been done already”.

Bob Park said his belief is essentially based on Samsung’s growing customer popularity and steady growing sales.

“We have sold more CD drive units in the first six months of the year than we did during the whole of last year,” he said.

The growing appeal of the Samsung brand was echoed by Morty Grauer, President of Micro Bytes, one the largest computer retail stores in Montreal.

“Samsung is no longer known for just being cheaper than big Japanese and other brands, it has acquired a solid reputation for reliability in consumer electronics,” he said.

And this appears to be confirmed by the company’s sales reaching a record high of US $55.2 billion last year with a net income of US $10.3 billion.

A move by Samsung which may also have helped solidify its reputation and explain its expansion in the computer market has been its decision to push heavily into the electronic storage market despite heavy competition.

On April 1st last year, Samsung and Toshiba actually set up a joint venture called Toshiba Samsung Storage Technology (TSST) with the view to “provide leadership in the next generation technology”.

“We see the market growing in optical drives and our share of the market is not that high,” explains Jae-Soon Park, President and C.E.O. of Samsung Electronics Canada, Inc.“We are determined to change that. Our joint venture with Toshiba leads to a convergence of the technologies of both companies which will have a definite impact on the market and give added confidence to our customers,” he says.

“Further, it enables us to expand our distribution and service networks and improve our costs through joint procurement.”

Jae-Soon Park points out that while the new venture involves joint development and joint marketing, it has two separate heads and the products will have separate names.Samsung will continue to invest in its current technologies such as LCD screens, cellular phones, printers, memory, but it is also aiming at bringing to market and in the shortest possible time new optical media solutions based on HDVD (High Density DVD) technology.

It is planning, for instance, to market new optical disk drives and DVDs with 20 GB capacities based on both Blu-Ray and HDVD technologies in about a year.

“We are serious about this, we really want to be the leader in the IT industry,” Jae-Soon Park says.

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