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[November 23, 2012]
SIM puts all its eggs in smartphone basket, aims for B10bn in 2013
Nov 24, 2012 (Bangkok Post - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- The SET-listed Samart I-Mobile Plc (SIM), the handset flagship unit of Samart Corporation, is betting big on its smartphones, hoping the segment will help to drive the company's revenue to 10 billion baht next year.
Watchai Vilailuck, the president of Samart Corporation, Thailand's leading communications equipment firm, said SIM expects to end this year with revenue of nearly 8 billion baht, up from 7 billion last year.
The mobile business now makes up 80% of SIM's revenue, with 12% from mobile content under the Bug brand and 8% from its mobile virtual network operator business.
Next year, the company expects to raise the proportion of smartphones to 70% of total units sold or 3.2 million, up from 30% this year.
SIM jumped on the lucrative smartphone bandwagon this year, starting with low to mid-level units under the "i-style" and "i-styleQ" brands, priced at 4,000 and 5,000 baht, respectively.
Yesterday it debuted Android-based smartphones under the IQ brand with three models -- IQ 1, IQ 2 and IQ 5 -- that support two mobile SIMs and a TV tuner with a 4.5- or 5-inch display. They are priced from 6,190 to 6,790 baht, and the company plans to sell 150,000 units.
"Compared with international brands with similar specifications, our price is 2.5 times cheaper," said Mr Watchai.
Subhasiddhi Rakkasikorn, SIM's managing director, said the company will spend 40 million baht on promotions.
Thailand's smartphone market would change dramatically as local brand vendors make their presence known, he said.
This will drive down the average price for smartphones to between 4,000 and 6,000 baht each from an average of 10,000 baht earlier this year.
Smartphone sales in Thailand are expected to reach 7 million units next year from 4 million this year.
However, overall mobile sales are expected to stay unchanged at 14 million units this year and next.
The proportion of smartphones in the overall market is expected to double to 40% next year.
Shares of SIM closed unchanged yesterday on the SET at 1.98 baht, in trade worth 3.17 million baht.
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