Samsung claims to have beaten Nokia in global handset sales

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Samsung claims to have beaten Nokia in global handset sales

LAS VEGAS - Samsung Electronics overtook world No. 1 Nokia of Finland in global handset sales last year, according to one of the Korean company’s vice chairmen.

The revelation comes years after Samsung dethroned its Japanese rival Sony in sales of flatscreen TVs in 2006, and months after it beat California-based Apple in smartphones in the third quarter of last year.

“In 2007, [Samsung] executives vowed to make the company the new world leader in global mobile phone sales by 2010,” Choi Gee-sung, Samsung Electronics’ vice chairman, told reporters in Las Vegas. “Although it happened one year later than we originally hoped, we did come in first place last year.”

Choi was meeting reporters on the sidelines of the Consumer Electronics Show, the world’s largest technology tradeshow that kicked off its four-day run in Las Vegas yesterday.

He recalled that the Finnish company sold four handsets for every one of Samsung’s back in 2007, adding that while the Korean company had closed the gap, its new title was earned in terms of revenue but not units sold.

Citing the issue of fair regulatory filings, however, Choi did not disclose the exact revenue. Samsung said in its preliminary earnings report on Friday that it likely recorded 164.7 trillion won ($142.3 billion) in sales last year, an all-time high, and 16.15 trillion won in operating profit. The company will announce the audited results later this month.

Choi also said that Samsung Electronics will invest more heavily in its business operations in 2012.

“We spent 21 trillion won on core technologies [in 2011], and I believe this year, it will be more,” he said.

The vice chairman also reiterated Samsung’s goal of achieving annual sales of $200 billion by 2015, saying that “the key for sustainable growth lies in the company’s success in the Chinese, Indian and African markets.”

Meanwhile, Han Sang-beom, the newly-appointed CEO of LG Display, the world’s No. 2 maker of LCD (liquid crystal display) panels, also met with reporters to share his plans for next-generation OLED (organic light-emitting diode) TVs.

He said the company will start mass producing 55-inch OLED panels from the second half of this year, which would make it the first in the industry to do so. But he also forecast that it will be some time before OLED TVs replace LCDs as the mainstream choice due to high prices.

“It all boils down to a price battle,” Han said on the sidelines of the CES.

“So far we have focused mostly on the manufacturing process, and the type we adopted is not only simple but can also be adopted on our existing lines, eliminating the need for new investments.”

At this year’s CES, LG Electronics also unveiled its own 55-inch OLED TV using panels created by LG Display, its sister company.

By Jeong Seon-eon, Kim Hyung-eun []

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