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Korean giant ready to take-on all comers in bid to dominate universe

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Samsung has poached staff from its rivals to start a new printer division in the UK, coinciding with today's launch of its laser printers. The Korean manufacturer aims to knock competitor Kyocera from its number two position in the country's laser printer market. It will invest £8 million in the project throughout 1999, aimed at securing 10 per cent of sales by the end of the year. Today Samsung showed three printers models. The ML 5100A, with USB and parallel ports, 4 Mb memory and 33Mhz RISC processor, which prints eight pages per minute (ppm). Estimated street price £169. The ML 6050, 4Mb, 33Mhz RISC, 12 ppm, with an estimated street price of £288. The ML 7000 range goes up to a 12 Mb memory and 100 Mhz RISC processor. The ML 7000P is priced at £509, and the ML 7000N at £630. Ali Demin, Samsung sales and marketing director, announced the start of the company's printer division today. Currently with seven staff - all culled from competitors including Panasonic and Minolta, Demin said that number would grow to 11 by the year 2000, confident that by this time Samsung would take the number two position in the laser printer UK market. "The laser printer market is a strategic goal for our company," said Demin. He added, "We can compete with anybody with our products, and will take market share away from competitors, including market leader Hewlett-Packard." HP currently has over 50 per cent of the market. Samsung's freshly poached general manager for the printing division, Clive Huntingford - who has joined from Minolta - said: "Samsung is ready for a fight. We can offer an alternative to the market leader, whilst giving better margin to the channel." Samsung's £8 million campaign will kick off next week with adverts in trade titles and the national press. Mail shots will follow. In addition, a printer-like Samsung hot-air balloon will soon be seen floating over the UK. The Korean threat to Japanese printer-vendor Kyocera did not fall on deaf ears. Phil Murphy, Kyocera general manager, admitted to The Register: "We are number two. But we're actually only keeping the spot warm for Ali Demin." ®

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