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Samsung is losing ground in China and India, and it has itself to blame


With smartphone sales plateauing in Western countries, phone manufacturers shifted focus to Asian markets, where the addressable userbase is considerably larger. Samsung, in particular, has managed to carve out a healthy lead for itself in both China and India over the last five years thanks to aggressive marketing and an extensive offline distribution network.



With the Indian mobile industry driven primarily by price, there is no way for Apple to claw its way back in the country without drastically changing its business practices. Samsung, meanwhile, is also facing a sales downturn and is projected to miss its profit targets for Q4 2018. That's a big deal when you consider the fact that Samsung posted record profits for much of last year.


Even though Samsung as a whole posted healthy profits, a bulk of that was down to its chip business, which has taken off in recent years. Samsung became the world's largest semiconductor early last year after overtaking Intel, and that momentum has continued through much of 2018. However, Apple is one of Samsung's biggest clients for DRAM modules, and with iPhone sales on the downturn, Samsung is also slashing its outlook. With the company no longer able to rely as heavily on its chip division, it needs to look elsewhere for growth, and that means increased scrutiny over its phone business.



Devices under $200 account for a sizable portion of sales in India and Xiaomi utterly dominates in this category, with the brand selling over ten phones in the budget space. It's no wonder, then, that four out of five best-selling phones in India come from Xiaomi. To give you an idea of the numbers involved, the entry-level Redmi 5A — which retails for under $100 — was the best-selling Android phone globally.



The 2018 Galaxy J launches — in the form of the Galaxy J8, J6, J6+, and the J4 — were all derivative and had mediocre hardware that wasn't even close to what Chinese brands were offering. To call them a dumpster fire would be an affront to dumpsters. In a year where everyone else raised the bar for value, Samsung decided to stick with its usual strategy of rolling out phones with parts from the leftover bin, and unless that changes this year, Samsung will lose even more ground.