Samsung Electronics on Monday shrugged off fears that the takeover of General Electric’s home appliances unit by Chinese home appliance manufacturer Haier Group could have a serious impact on its market share over medium term.
Speaking during the launch of Samsung’s latest range of air conditioners and refrigerators, Seo Byung-sam, Vice President of Samsung’s home appliances segment, told local reporters: “The immediate impact from Haier’s takeover will likely be not so great. GE and Haier pursue different goals and our product lineups are different from theirs.”
Haier, China’s second-biggest electronics firm, announced mid this month that it had acquired GE’s consumer appliances unit in a deal valued at US$5.4 billion. The purchase is lined to be completed in the first half of this year. The deal will see Haier maintain the GE brand, in a deal eerily similar to IBM’s sale of its personal computing division to China’s Lenovo Group Ltd in 2004.
Innovations and Mergers..
Seo, while acknowledging the threat the takeover poses in terms of competition for U.S. market share, said that Samsung would continuously innovate in order to stay ahead of the pack.
Asked if Samsung may opt to pursue mergers and acquisitions to counter threats by rivals in the home appliances business, Seo said the company welcomes “all possibilities” and refused to divulge more information.
Samsung was on Monday launching what it dubbed the first “breeze-free” air conditioner in the market that gives users the ability to maintain a stable room temperature. The company expects the product, branded the Q9500, to attract buyers who abhor direct contact with breeze from air conditioners, especially asthmatics.
Samsung also unveiled a new range of refrigerators that allow users to control temperature with deviations of about 0.5 degree Celsius. This compares with the 1.5 degrees Celsius deviation offered in existing models in the market.
Samsung Electronics Co Ltd held a market share of 14.9 percent in U.S. consumer appliances market in 2015, coming second after industry leader Whirlpool Corporation which tops the market with a 16.4 percent share. General Electronics’ home appliances segment came third with a market share of 14.3 percent, while LG Electronics Inc. is a distant fourth with 13.5 percent.
Tops U.S. Home Appliances Market
However, Samsung topped U.S. home appliance sales in the fourth quarter, research by the Stevenson Company’s TraQline showed. The South Korean company achieved the feat by rolling out its “Chef Collection” range of home appliances that includes a refrigerator, oven, dishwasher and a microwave.
However, the threat that Samsung poses to its U.S. rivals hasn’t gone unnoticed. Last month, Whirlpool lobbied the U.S. government to impose duties on appliances made by Samsung and LG Electronics, claiming the two Korean companies manufactured their products in China and sold them way below the costs incurred to produce them.