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Samsung Releases Foldables in Japan to Counter Apple’s Dominance

Samsung Electronics will release its latest foldables, the Galaxy Z Flip 5 and Z Fold 5, in Japan on the first day of September as it aims to ramp up its share in a market dominated by Apple.  

The duo made a media debut in Tokyo on Aug. 22, the day that pre-ordering began.  

After accepting pre-orders through to Aug. 31, the official launch date is set for Sept. 1.

The Z Flip 5 and Z Fold 5 will be made available at two major telecommunications operators — NTT Docomo and KDDI. However, they come with higher price tags compared to their home turf of Korea.  

The price of the Z Flip 5 will start from 154,300 yen ($1,060) while the Z Fold 5 will be retailed at 242,660 yen, according to Samsung’s Japanese site.  

The high-end smartphone models hit the market on Aug. 11 in 50 countries including Korea, the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Singapore and China.  

Japan has been a tough market for Samsung to crack as Apple’s iPhones hold a strong grip with a 56.1 percent market share last year, according to market tracker Strategy Analytics.

Despite the presence of loyal iPhone users, Samsung has managed to slice a portion for itself, especially over the past year. Samsung came in second place with a 10.5 percent share, followed by Sharp’s 10.1 percent.

Last year’s first quarter saw Samsung gain a 13.5 percent share, its best performance in Japan since the first quarter in 2013, according to the market tracker, while local competitors were lagging behind. Sharp had 9.2 percent and Sony 6.5 percent.

Only a few years ago, Samsung had a single-digit market share, eclipsed by Apple on the high-end and by Japanese and Chinese rivals in budget models.

Its market share was 5.2 percent in 2017, which edged up to 6.4 percent the next year and 7.8 percent in 2019. The electronics maker saw a big increase to 10.1 percent in 2020, the year that it released the Galaxy S20 series and the Z Flip and Z Fold2.  

However, entering this year, Samsung then fell to third place with a 10.9 percent share in the second quarter, following Sharp’s 11.8 percent.  

Due to its relatively low recognition in Japan, the Korean firm used to place the “Galaxy” logo instead of Samsung, but it revived the Samsung logo with the introduction of the Galaxy S23 series.  

The revival of its corporate name, industry sources say, is linked with the company’s improved market share in the region.

Source: Korea JoongAng Daily