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issue: July 2003 APPLIANCE Magazine

New Delhi Report
Samsung's R&D Focus in India

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India is fast emerging as a global research and development center for appliance companies.

Whirlpool India has set up a design center in Pune that provides design services to its counterparts in three countries - Brazil, Italy, and the U.S. Now, Samsung India is involving students to get to know its Indian consumers better. It has set up a "usability lab" at the Indian Institute of Technology in New Delhi to customize Samsung products to meet the specific needs of Indian consumers.

This industry-institute partnership will facilitate post-graduate industrial design students, other undergraduate students from different departments of IIT Delhi, and Samsung to study and analyze consumer response in aspects of product design, including aesthetics, ergonomics, and interface. The company will install high-tech equipment such as eye tracking systems, force sensors, CAD stations for 3D modeling, and ergonomic evaluation tools. Says Mr. C.K. Cho, head of R&D for Samsung India, "The setting up of the usability lab takes our association with IIT Delhi one step forward."

In January 2003, Samsung initiated a collaborative project with IIT Delhi in which select students who are doing their master's programs in industrial design could work on design projects for the company on color televisions. Their contribution involves studying user preference, getting design and usage related feedback, and using the feedback to develop new designs. This is the first collaborative project that Samsung India has taken up with IIT Delhi. "The R&D project will serve to provide a fresh and added dimension to our R&D efforts here in India," says Mr. Cho. The students will tremendously benefit from this program as well, since it will provide them with actual industry exposure and the experience of directly interacting with consumers.

Since 2000, the Samsung India R&D Center has been working toward the development of new models for both the Indian market as well as the export market. One of the most recent introductions of Samsung India - the sound-oriented Q1 and the Q2 CTV Series - has been designed and developed by the Samsung India R&D Center. Available in 20-, 21-, and 29-in screen size segments, the Q1 and Q2 series are equipped with features like turbo sound and a 5-band graphic equalizer to provide better quality of sound. The Q1 Series has the woofer sound system, which gives the television sets 1,000 W of power.

The company is targeting flat TV sales of 320,000 in 2003, which would translate into a 27-percent contribution to the company's total color television sales. Samsung is hoping to achieve color television sales of 1.2 million units this year. According to the March issue of ORG, the company already has acquired the number one position in the flat TV market with a 27-percent market share. The company has sold 450,000 color televisions in the first quarter of 2003, of which the flat TV contribution stood at 22 percent (100,000 units). The company hopes to increase its overall color television market share to 17 percent by the end of 2003.

This report is filed by Adite Chatterjee, New Delhi correspondent, APPLIANCE magazine.


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