Samsung Electronics is regaining smartphone share in India with a revamped line-up packed with special features including a safety mode for motorcyclists. But as Ryan Brooks reports, rival Apple is also set for a renewed push into the world's fastest-growing market.
Samsung is bouncing back in India. The South Korean tech titan once had the edge in the world's fastest-growing mobile market... but steadily lost ground to Apple at the high end, and couldn't compete on price with cheap local manufacturers. Now though, its staging a comeback. Reuters' Vincent Lee in Seoul explains how. SOUNDBITE (English) REUTERS CORRESPONDENT IN SEOUL, VINCENT LEE, SAYING: "They've used certain features that are very useful to people in India and other emerging markets. One thing they've done is S-Bike, which is basically a safety feature given how many people actually ride their motorcycles in India. It basically alerts whoever is calling that this person is out there riding his bike right now. So he can't answer the call right now." Samsung has long been battling Apple for smartphone dominance in China. But iPhones are still the brand of choice there - and that makes India an even more critical market. SOUNDBITE (English) REUTERS CORRESPONDENT IN SEOUL, VINCENT LEE, SAYING: "India is the world's second largest smartphone market behind China and also a lot of people in India are still first-time smartphone buyers. Even if they buy into the mid-to-low tier segments as they get better in life in terms of their economics- if you grab these people early, as they become well more off, you have them locked in for brand loyalty purposes." Samsung's also mastered putting a premium sheen on cheap phones, and that's a hit with budget-conscious Indians. Apple's betting on the same buyers to muscle back in. For now though, Samsung's holding its ground, even lobbying to keep used iPhones out of India. But the race for mobile dominance - and Samsung needs to look out below. Cheap Chinese brands like Xiaomi are aggressively pushing their products in India, looking to up their market share as competition rockets at home.