At the very start of 2006, Samsung Electronics Company's market value topped U.S. $100 billion when its stock jumped 5.1 percent. This made Samsung one of Asia's biggest corporate entities by market capitalization. The rise in value of the Korean company's common stock to approximately 103 trillion won, or $103.4 billion, with the strength of the won against the dollar, helped it to exceed the $100 billion milestone.
Samsung is the biggest maker of computer memory chips in the world. Its business units include Samsung Electronics, Samsung Electro-Mechanics, Samsung SDI, Samsung Corning, Samsung SDS, SAMSUNG Networks and SAMSUNG Corning Precision Glass. These affiliates market chips and other components, including computer and telecommunications equipment, color TV picture tubes, glass bulbs, computer systems, general electronics, and precision machines.
New Manufacturing: Asia and India
In 2006 Samsung announced planned expansion throughout Asia and India. Samsung Telecommunications planed to invest U.S. $15 million for a mobile phone manufacturing unit in Haryana, India. (EFY Times)
In Thailand, despite political uncertainties, Samsung planned to continue expanding, with additional refrigerator production capability in Chon Buri, according to a Bangkok Post report. The company also planned to invest 120 million baht (approx. U.S. $3 million) on refrigerator manufacturing upgrades in Si Racha in order to accommodate two new refrigerator models. Production on the 440-liter and 400-liter models started in June 2006. The new line was planned to have a capacity of about 50,000 units, about 90 percent of which would be exported.
In Malaysia, at its facility in Port Klang, Samsung Electronics Malaysia opened a new factory for the production of microwave oven magnetrons. According to Malaysia's Business Times, Samsung invested RM 62.05 million (approx. U.S. $16.84 million) into Port Klang for the factory that will increase microwave oven output by 30 percent.
The Port Klang facility was established in 1989 and remains the only microwave oven manufacturer in Malaysia. The new capacity will help SEMA boost its exports, which already total approximately 6.3 million microwaves per year.
Finally, in early 2006 Samsung Electronics Co.'s board approved 229.4 billion won (approx. U.S. $236.9 million) in spending to increase production of liquid crystal displays to meet rising demand. And in June, the company said it was set to start up its newest mass production line for liquid crystal display TV panels, 3 months ahead of schedule.
Samsung and Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat) partnered to create a Smart Home demonstration area in the Etisalat head office building in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.
The fully operational demonstration features home appliances linked using Samsung's Homevita home control products operating on the Etisalat voice and data network.
Samsung Electronics reported the launching of a "Real World Phone" mobile handset designed to work nearly everywhere in the world. The SCH-V920 model allows users to communicate in more than 90 countries, regardless of the communications' network standards, Samsung said in a statement.
Samsung Corp's Samsung America Inc. said it would make some improvements to its Blu-ray high-definition DVD players ahead of the 2006 holiday season, according to Reuters. The production line improvement would include a modified setting for the noise filter reduction circuit that would provide a slightly sharper picture, the company said.
Year in Innovation: From Refrigerators to Mobile Phones
Samsung Electronics introduced its Popcon (Popular Convergence) Refrigerator. The 24 cubic foot refrigerator, which was slated to be released in the fall of 2006, features a detachable 10.4 inch wireless Thin Film Transistor (TFT) LCD, allowing it to serve as both a dedicated food storage appliance and a family information center.
The refrigerator incorporates Samsung LCD technology. The LCD allows users to track and organize both fresh products and leftovers with a system of food management functions. The LCD also incorporates a digital schedule and calendar to highlight important dates and appointments as well as a digital memo pad. The unit can also be used to leave messages in voice or text form. A stylus pen is included to handwrite messages.
In 2006 Samsung unveiled a number of firsts into the cellular phone market. Examples include two ultra slim phones. The Samsung X820 was introduced as having the world's thinnest profile of only 6.9 mm, while Samsung's D900 was introduced as the world's slimmest slider, with a depth of 13 mm.
To the Korean market, Samsung offered the first high-speed downlink packet access (HSDPA) phone, model SCH-W200. It was introduced as the first HSDPA phone commercially available to consumers. The slide-up phone employs the technology to transmit audio and video data at speeds of 1.8 Mbps. The device allows for the use of a wide range of multimedia, including video phone calls, music and movies.
When the sun shines, mobile phone users frequently seek out shade to see their display. Samsung Electronics Co. aimed at alleviating that problem in the design of two cellular phone screens. The company said it has developed a device to sense the brightness of ambient light and adjust the image so viewers can see what's being shown more easily while outdoors. When indoors, the sensor dims the display's backlight to save power.
A second innovation designed to combat the mobile phone user's problem of outdoor light is a 1.72-inch super-reflective (SR) LCD screen that can be read easily outdoors, even in bright sun. The reflectance rate for the new transflective SR LCD technology is designed to be three times that of the usual qqVGA-resolution (128x160 pixels) mobile displays commonly available now.
In September Samsung Electronics Co. showed off its vision for the future of mobile technology, sending data wirelessly at high speeds to a moving minibus. The connection was robust enough to support live images, and in a key step toward making the technology truly mobile, the device aboard the minibus switched seamlessly between two base stations-meaning the signal won't be lost when users are on-the-go.The current prototype allows data transfers of 100 megabits per second, about 30 times typical broadband Internet speeds. It works even when the receiver is moving as fast as 75 mph.It won't be until 2008 that the device can be shrunk to fit in a mobile phone. And even then, says an AP report, frequencies need to be allocated and standards set, meaning the devices aren't expected to be in consumers' hands until after 2010.
In the TV segment Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. continued to push the envelope. The company released a 46-inch Slim DLP 720p model with a cabinet only 10.6 inches deep and weighing less than 50 pounds. The company also reported developing a 70-inch LCD panel for use in the consumer TV market, said to be a first for that market. At the time the largest LCD TV screen size was said to be 65 inches in diameter. Samsung will begin producing the LCD during the first half of 2007.
In the summer of 2006 Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. announced that it had developed the first 3-inch LCD panel with VGA (640 x 480 pixels) resolution that directly meets industry interface standards for digital still cameras. With the LCD panel operating at 30 Hz, instead of at a normal 60 Hz, the device is perfectly compatible with the standard digital camera interface, ITU-R601.
Samsung Electronics Co. unveiled a new type of memory chip that it said will allow digital devices to work faster by saving new data more quickly. The phase-change random access memory, or PRAM, chip is nonvolatile, meaning it will retain data even when an electronic device is turned off, and is about 30-times faster than conventional flash memory, Samsung said. It is expected to be available in 2008.
Samsung announced that net income declined 89 percent to 1.5 trillion won (approx. U.S. $1.6 billion) in the second quarter ended June 30, 2006 compared to 14.1 trillion won (approx. $14.8 billion) in 2005. For the third quarter of 2006 the company posted net income of 2.19 trillion won (approx. U.S. $2.3 billion) on revenue of 15.22 trillion won (approx. $15.9 billion).
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