Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Samsung enters corporate printer market

By Kim Yoo-chul

Samsung Electronics said Thursday that it will boost investment in printer development in order to become a leader in the corporate printer market that has been dominated by U.S. and Japanese companies.

Samsung, currently second-tier in printers, stressed it will seek to get on par with industry leaders Hewlett-Packard, Canon and Epson by 2012. Unlike its smartphones, tablets, components and TVs, Samsung has little competitive edge over its rivals.

``Samsung’s brand awareness in printers is still weak. Because our primary focus is to produce printers for offices rather than individual consumers, we are positive we can become a top global producer in A3 printers from 2015,’’ said Nam Seong-woo, head of the company’s information technology solutions division.

A3 printers, often used by corporate clients, are generally slower than A4 models. But Nam said its A3 printers are equipped with increased speed, high resolution and wireless technology as they use Samsung’s advanced chip-making technology.

``PCs have a shorter life cycle than printers, so no sudden changes are happening in A3 printers. Samsung is the top supplier in A4 laser printers. We are investing more in A3 printers with money earned from A4 models,’’ said the executive during a press conference at its headquarters in downtown Seoul.

The company is investing more in printers rather than PCs. It released new A3 and A4 models and combinations during the event.

Nam expects the market for printers to be estimated at some $130 billion with $40 billion and $90 billion for inkjet and laser printers respectively.

Samsung doesn’t plan to advance into inkjet printer markets because the company is eyeing clients in the United States, Europe and South Korea.

The firm’s strategy shift comes after Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman said that consumers are printing fewer photos, resulting in the world’s biggest printer supplier suffering a 10 percent drop in profit in the first quarter.

A major reason is people are flocking to Facebook and uploading billions of photos to the social networking service (SNS), where they can share digital images with their friends, meaning users don’t need to print photos and sent those copies as often.

``That’s right. But offices and buildings still print. That’s why we have shifted our strategy,’’ stressed Nam, admitting that it will experience tough periods before the printer business takes off.

In order to effectively handle this, Samsung is pricing its models higher in developed countries as Nam thinks his firm’s printers are well-positioned thanks to advanced features.

Compared to other variants, Samsung’s has released A3 color printers that are both high in quality and speed. Designed to mainly print text and illustrations, the laser applications are high in price due to the technology used to make them. While they come in both black and white and laser A3 color options, these printers will typically cost far more than the alternatives on the market.