struggling mobile unit has a new chief


Samsung has named a new head of its mobile communications unit as the company seeks to reverse dwindling smartphones sales.

The South Korean electronics giant said during its annual personnel appointments announcement that Dongjin Koh will take over day-to-day management of the company’s smartphone business, replacing Samsung co-CEO JK Shin, according to Reuters. Shin, who served as the head of Samsung’s mobile communications business since 2009, will remain the head of the company’s overall mobile division to focus on long-term strategy.

The move comes as Samsung seeks to revitalize its smartphone business, which has suffered from declining profits and market share during the past two years. Samsung remains the smartphone king, but it has been hit hard by saturation in the high-end market and intensifying pressure on the low end. Formerly accounting for two-thirds of Samsung’s operating profit, smartphone shipments have been providing a smaller part of company’s profit in recent quarters, squeezed in emerging markets by low-cost handset vendors such as Xiaomi and Huawei.

Samsung had pinned its hopes for a turnaround in the coming quarters on sales of the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, the new flagship handsets released to critical acclaim in April. The two devices feature metal casings instead of Samsung’s normal plastic, and the Edge also includes a screen that curves around the sides of the device.
Despite Shin’s prediction that the flagship S6 line will set a Samsung record for unit shipments, Samsung said in July it would cut the price of the smartphones to spur sales.

To get a leg up on its competition, Samsung has reportedly moved up the launch date of its next flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S7, to January. The move would break Samsung’s tradition of introducing new flagship smartphones at major global tech conferences, such as Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. But it might also give it an opportunity to undercut sales of the iPhone 6S, which launched in September, by getting it into consumers’ hands sooner.

Samsung did not respond to a request for comment on the move.