June 25 - Samsung launches Galaxy SIII in South Korea, dimisses concerns over availability and weak global economy, says 10 million will be sold by July. Arnold Gay reports.
Samsung Electronics says this will be its best-selling smartphone ever, with 10 million of them in customers' hands by July. Samsung also dismissed concerns tight supplies of the new Galaxy SIII model and the weak global economy would pressure its earnings. Launching the SIII in South Korea Monday, mobile head JK Shin says he expects a strong second quarter earnings number at his unit. (SOUNDBITE) SHIN JONG-KYUN, PRESIDENT OF IT AND MOBILE COMMUNICATION DIVISION OF SAMSUNG, SAYING: "The overall market condition was challenging due to euro zone issues and tight supply of components ... but (our) second-quarter results will be better than the first quarter." Profit from Samsung's mobile division nearly tripled in the January to March quarter to $3.6 billion, accounting for 73 percent of group operating profit. But shares of Asia's most valuable technology firm tumbled to a four-and-a-half month low Monday (June 25), after more analysts downgraded estimates for Samsung's second-quarter earnings. Some are predicting sales of the latest Galaxy model have triggered a steeper than expected drop-off in sales of earlier products. Others cite persistent price weakness in Samsung's core chip business. Samsung sold nearly 45 million smartphones in the first quarter, giving it 30.6 percent market share compared to Apple's 24 percent. And the firm will be hoping customers like Lee Jae-hon will continue to give it the edge over its bitter rival. (SOUNDBITE) 30-YEAR-OLD LEE JAE-HO SAYING: "Samsung said with confidence it's the best mobile phone with best specifications among all mobile phones available now. So I chose Samsung's Galaxy." Samsung kicked off global sales of its Galaxy S III on May 29. Arnold Gay, Reuters