Samsung to set up mobile handset plant in India

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Samsung to set up mobile handset plant in India
MUMBAI (Reuters) - Samsung Electronics Co Ltd said on Friday it would invest US$15 million to set up a mobile handset plant in India as it looks to corner a bigger share of the world's fastest-growing mobile market.

The capacity of the handset manufacturing unit, to be built in Manesar in Haryana, will be one million units a year, rising to 20 million by 2010, said H.C. Ryu, Samsung India's director of telecom.

The plant, Samsung's fourth overseas handset-making facility, will produce handsets in the mid- to high-end price range and is due to open by the end of the first quarter of 2006, he said.

"This facility will help us respond faster to the market and be in a position to fully tap the potential of this fast-growing market," Ryu said.

Samsung, the world's number three mobile phone maker, will begin making GSM handsets and add phones for the rival CDMA technology later, he said. Samsung will also look at exporting to the Middle East and southwest Asia after stabilising production for India.

Samsung has 10 percent of India's market and aims to grab 18 percent in the first year of operations of its plant, Ryu said.

India adds close to three million new mobile users every month, thanks to the cheapest call rates anywhere, but only six in 100 people use a mobile phone.

About 34 million handsets are expected to be sold in the highly competitive market in 2005, up 62 percent from 2004.

Top mobile phone maker Nokia has more than half of the estimated US$2 billion market and is investing US$100-$150 million in its plant.

LG Electronics Inc, aiming to sell phones priced in the low- to mid-range, has invested US$60 million in a plant to make 20 million GSM and CDMA phones a year in India by 2010.

Motorola Inc, the world's number two mobile phone maker, has a share in the "single digits" in India and has said it will start assembling handsets in the country by December and that it is considering full-scale manufacture.


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