Subscribe Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - iPhone struggles for a place in Cambodian market

iPhone struggles for a place in Cambodian market

iPhone struggles for a place in Cambodian market

130115 07
Customers look at smartphones and tablets at a Hakse shop in Phnom Penh, Monday, Jan. 14, 2013. Photograph: Hong Menea/Phnom Penh Post

It will not be enough for Apple to simply offer a cheaper iPhone for the company to gain share in the competitive Cambodian smartphone market, according to industry insiders.

They say Apple’s operating system, iOS, may also restrict their potential growth.

Bloomberg last week reported that Apple was planning a smaller, more cost-effective iPhone to compete with brands offering cheaper alternatives in Asian markets.

Apple is weighing retail prices of $99 to $149 for such a device, according to a person familiar with the plans.

Samsung is leading the pack in Cambodia, and Smart Mobile chief executive Thomas Hundt says this is largely because of the diversity Samsung offers, particularly in the lower-end segment that gives the brand its greatest market share.

Hundt said that although there was still demand in Cambodia for the higher-end iPhone, cost was a definite factor hitting Apple’s share.

“The sheer price tag of the iPhone is limiting their market,” Hundt said.

Samsung’s Gwihan Lee  said the Korean brand was number one in Cambodia because it offered consumers a greater choice as well as continued investment in branding that strengthened the brand’s market position.

“Cambodian customers are familiar with the Samsung brand,” Lee said.

Hor Hap, deputy managing director of G-Gear, an LG Mobile authorised distributor in Cambodia, said it was not just a matter of bringing out a cheaper phone to compete.

In the Cambodian market, a company had to also consider the operating system, Hor Hap said.

“LG is very popular, and it is the only smartphone that offers the official Khmer language, Unicode,” he said.

Recognising the growth in demand, Nokia, too, will introduce a smartphone powered by the Windows Phone 8 operating system to the Cambodian market this year.

Nokia Cambodia communications manager Y Sokun said the new Nokia smartphone would have greater flexibility than the current basic Nokia smartphone on the Cambodian market and would compete directly with Android phones.

“The Nokia powered by Windows Phone 8 will be the key alternative in this market,” Sokun said.

Regardless of the introduction of a more cost-efficient alternative, the iPhone still has definite appeal among some consumers.

“A good high-end smartphone is still a status symbol here [in Cambodia],” Thomas Hundt said.

According to Bloomberg, the cheaper iPhone may be available later this year.

Apple had been working on a more affordable smartphone since at least February, 2011, the report said.

Bloomberg reported that adding a cheaper version of the iPhone would be a strategy shift for Apple, which so far has been targeting budget-conscious customers by cutting the prices of its older models.

Last month, the Post reported that the number of SIM cards sold in Cambodia had reached more than 20 million, surpassing the country’s population of 15 million.

So Khun, minister for the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, said last month the rise in the number of SIM cards sold exceeded Cambodia’s population because people tended to have more than one SIM card, due to the convenience of services provided by the operators.

Last December, LG Electronics, in partnership with locally based G-Gear, launched its first LG Brand Shop in Phnom Penh.

To contact the reporter on this story: Daniel de Carteret at [email protected]

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Thy Sovantha threatens new suit

    Social media celebrity and card-carrying CPP member Thy Sovantha yesterday said she will file a lawsuit against wildlife NGO head Suwanna Gauntlett alleging discrimination after the latter allegedly denied her access to an ecotourism program the group is launching today in Koh Kong province. The

  • Police raid Siem Reap party, arrest 10 foreigners over ‘pornographic’ images

    A group of 10 foreign tourists appeared in court today after being arrested for producing “pornographic” photos in Siem Reap town on Thursday, while dozens more were detained temporarily and let go after being lectured on their behaviour, according to authorities. A report posted to the

  • Hun Sen’s in-law removed from RCAF after cockfighting rings raided

    Thai Phany, the nephew-in-law of Prime Minister Hun Sen who is accused of running two large cockfighting rings, has been removed as a general in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces. Phany, formerly a one-star brigadier general, was removed by royal decree on December 19, according to

  • Government approves plan to relocate Phnom Penh’s airport

    The government has signed off on a proposal to build a new airport to serve Phnom Penh and has earmarked land in Kandal province for the $1.5 billion project. A new international airport to replace the existing Phnom Penh International Airport will be constructed on partially