Samsung Electronics plans to extend its Silver Nano technology to the middle-market home appliance segment with the launch of 70 new models this year. The Korean manufacturer hopes to boost its home appliance sales by 50 percent to 4 billion baht (approx. U.S. $101.1 million) this year, according to Tae-Bong Choi, the company's managing director in Thailand.
The home appliance market in Thailand, including washing machines, refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, and air-conditioners, is estimated at 32 billion baht (approx. $808.5 million) this year, up from 29 billion (approx. $732.7 million) in 2004. Mr. Choi said the company planned to launch 20 new washing machine models, 30 refrigerators, 10 air-conditioners, and 10 vacuum cleaners.
Samsung's Silver Nano technology, developed over 3 years at a cost of 400 million baht (approx. $10.1 million), uses nano-sized silver particles to help filter dust and bacteria. ''We launched high-end products that are equipped with Silver Nano technology last year. But we're also aware that this segment is rather small. The customer base for middle segment products is much larger,'' Mr. Arnut said.
For this reason, new products geared for the middle segment are also equipped with Silver Nano features, he added. ''This is our attempt to make our innovations more affordable for a larger number of consumers,'' said Mr. Arnut.
Samsung categorizes its products into three major segments: high-end, middle, and mass-market. Refrigerators priced between 40,000 (approx. $1,000) and 200,000 baht (approx. $5,000), for example, are regarded as high-end products, while those priced between 10,000 (approx. $253) and 40,000 baht (approx. $1,000) fall in the middle segment. High-end washing machines are priced between 20,000 (approx. $505) and 60,000 baht (approx. $1,516), while those in the middle segment sell for 10,000 (approx. $253) and 20,000 baht (approx. $505), said Mr. Arnut.
Thai Samsung Electronics' four-billion-baht plant in Chon Buri is now a major manufacturing hub for the company's appliance business. It manufactures washing machines, refrigerators, air-conditioners, and microwave ovens, more than half of which are exported. (Bangkok Post)
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