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Samsung to tempt developing world with $50 phones

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Samsung's war with Motorola to become the world's second most successful seller of mobile phones looks set to extend to another front after an executive at South Korean giant claimed it will soon begin offering handsets priced from $50.

To date, Samsung has focused on feature-rich, expensive handsets to be sold to affluent buyers in Asia and the West. But according to a company staffer cited by the Korea Times, the company now wants to push much less-pricey, more basic handsets to developing nations.

"We seek to attack the $50-100 markets in some developing nations," the source said. "We plan to ship the low-priced models to just a handful of potential-laden destinations to pre-empt the markets."

It's a cunning strategy: get the locals used to the Samsung brand and handset user interface though cut-price handsets, then upgrade the market to the more expensive, higher-margin models.

"Our top priority is to make folks in the entry markets get familiar with the user interfaces and brand of made-by-Samsung handsets," the executive said. "Then, they will buy more expensive Samsung phones later when they switch their handsets after the income level goes up there."

Motorola has been pitching low-cost handsets into the developing world and beyond. Late last month, it began shipping the Fone, a cut-price slimline handset with an E Ink low-power display in India. But in the past it's offered low-cost, basic-function handsets like the C115. ®

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