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Samsung adds US$11b in market value on S6 buzz

Samsung Electronics Co, struggling to retain its place as the world's largest smartphone maker, just had an US$11 billion month.

[SEOUL] Samsung Electronics Co, struggling to retain its place as the world's largest smartphone maker, just had an US$11 billion month.

That's how much the South Korean company has added in market value since the March 1 introduction of its Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, the smartphones that will compete against Apple Inc's new iPhones. The shares have climbed 6.2 per cent since the announcement for their best month since May 2014.

Samsung is counting on new payment software and a three- sided display on the S6 Edge to boost sales after slipping into a tie with Apple last quarter as the world's biggest smartphone vendor. The Suwon-based company is being pressured at the high end by the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and in the mid-range by Chinese manufacturers, including Xiaomi Corp with its Redmi 2.

"There's a lot of buzz about the new S6 phones and consumer demand," said Lee Seung Woo, an analyst at IBK Securities Co. in Seoul. "The pre-order demand for S6 devices is a lot higher than its predecessor S5, and the phone will win back many consumers." Mr Lee raised his target price for the company's shares to 1.8 million won, from 1.7 million won. The shares fell 1 per cent to 1.426 million won as of 9.10 am in Seoul.

Samsung's market value reached 212.26 trillion won (US$191.19 billion), at the close of trading in Seoul on Tuesday, or about 12.37 trillion won more than on March 1. Apple was worth about $725 billion as of the close in New York, a $23 billion decline during the period.

Samsung was little changed in the same month a year earlier, when the S5 it unveiled at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona received a tepid reaction.

Xiaomi, Lenovo In the year that followed, models from Lenovo Group Ltd. and Xiaomi eroded Samsung's market share in emerging markets including China and India, and Apple's iPhone 6 lured away customers willing to pay more for the latest features.

The S6 phones have metal bodies and a fingerprint reader that works with the device's payment software for added security. They will be released initially in 20 countries.

The phones won early praise from reviewers, with Forbes saying the use of glass and metal represents "great gains in terms of style." The BGR website called the S6 and the S6 Edge "truly fantastic smartphones." The New York Times said the S6 was "a flagship phone that finally feels like a flagship." Operating profit will probably slump 36 per cent to 5.4 trillion won in the quarter ending March 31, according to the average of 35 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The next quarter, which would include S6 sales, will generate about 6.7 trillion won, the estimates show.


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