Samsung Electronics’ top management sweated it out at its 51st shareholders’ meeting held on Mar. 18 during which shareholders asked why the company was falling behind its top rival Apple.
One shareholder said that she had to force her kids to buy Samsung smartphones, going against their wishes to get iPhones. She added even after buying a Galaxy phone, her kids insisted on using the wireless AirPod, instead of Samsung’s Buds.
She asked what were Samsung’s plans for achieving this kind of brand status. Koh Dong-jin, head of Samsung’s IM division said while it was true that Samsung has much to learn from its rivals, he defended the Galaxy series, saying that younger consumers were warming up to them.
Another shareholder asked whether the company was considering applying noise-cancelling functions to the Buds earphones. This was a direct reference to how Apple had applied such functions to its latest AirPod Pro series. Koh said the company is still going through the pros and cons of the function.
Regarding criticism on Samsung’s lowly share in the Chinese smartphone market, Koh admitted that the company felt deeply sorrowful about losing foothold.
Once upon a time, the Korean tech giant had recorded double-digit market shares in the Chinese smartphone market, but this has fallen to around 1%. The Samsung CEO said the company has completely turned overhauled its organization in China, from distribution to sales, to improve leadership and raise productivity and brand awareness.
Another shareholder asked why Samsung was adhering to its Exynos processor, which is known to have many flaws. Koh explained that the chip sets were chosen purely based on function and efficiency, and that Samsung was not choosing Exynos only because it was produced by Samsung.
The new Galaxy S20 was paired with the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon, which is said to function many times more efficiently than the new Exynos.
One person who identified himself as a member of an organization of employees dismissed from Samsung attempted to disrupt the scene, saying that Samsung was trampling on labor rights. Samsung cut him off by shutting off his microphone during his lengthy speech.
Other shareholders spoke of the contrary, saying that the labor union issue appears to have become an obstacle for Samsung. Samsung said it guarantees all legal union activity. On Dec. 17 last year, a lower court handed down jail-terms to former Samsung Electronics chairman of the board and a vice president on charges of sabotaging efforts by Samsung employees to form unions. The next day, the tech giant issued a formal apology.
The Elec is South Korea’s No.1 tech news platform.