South Korean MP3 Player Manufacturers to Take on iPod
Nov 8, 2004
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South Korean MP3 player manufacturers said they are poised to introduce more competitive models this year in a bid to arrest their sliding share in the global market.

South Korean manufacturers, once considered the world's leaders for MP3 players with their compact flash memory-chip products, have suffered from falling sales in the last year as the popularity of hard disk drive (HDD)-based portable audio players, particularly Apple Computer's trendy iPod, have taken off.

According to a report from the LG Economic Research Institute, South Korean firms held 20 percent of global market share this year, down from 40 percent 3 years ago, due to their failure to anticipate technological trends.

The global MP3 player market will grow to around 15.4 million units in 2004 from last year's 7.5 million units, 60 percent of which will be HDD products, the report forecast.

The advantage of HDD models have over flash memory-chip MP3 players is enough memory capacity to allow listeners to carry virtually their entire music collections around with them.

In an effort to reclaim market share, South Korean manufacturers, including ReignCom and Samsung Electronics, are planning to introduce new HDD-based models.

"South Korea's falling share in the global market has nothing to do with its other competitors, but rather the booming popularity of Apple's iPod," a ReignCom official said. "And we are ready to throw down the gauntlet with new models that are just as competitive."

ReignCom will introduce two new models by Christmas. Samsung Electronics is also to release a 20 gigabyte HDD-based MP3 player next month. Cowon Systems, which has three HDD-based models, will also launch a new 20 gigabyte player by the end of the year. (Yonhap)

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