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Samsung Aims to Raise Laptop Sales 80% This Year on New Models

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Feb. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s largest maker of memory chips, said it aims to raise laptop computer sales by 80 percent this year as it rolls out new high-end models.

Samsung aims to sell 18 million laptop computers globally this year, compared with 10 million units last year, Kevin Lee, a vice president at the Suwon, South Korea-based company’s information-technology solutions business, said in an interview on the sidelines of a media briefing today. The target would give Samsung a 6 percent to 7 percent share in the worldwide laptop market, compared with about 5 percent last year, he said.

Growth in global personal-computer shipments missed projections in the fourth quarter as consumers held back on holiday purchases and chose tablet computers such as Apple Inc.’s iPad., according to the research firms IDC and Gartner Inc. Still, the popularity of tablet computers will lead to an “explosive growth” in demand for portable PCs, Nam Seong Woo, the head of Samsung’s PC business, said in Seoul today.

While consumers hold back on purchases, businesses continue to replace older PCs, according to IDC and Gartner. PC shipments will probably increase almost 16 percent this year to 409 million units, according to Gartner.

Samsung will focus on introducing higher priced “premium” models to lure customers looking for high-end devices, Nam said. The company will start selling a slim laptop PC in global markets in March, after its introduction in South Korea this month, Samsung said in a statement.

The model, named Notebook Series 9, will be priced at 2.49 million won ($2,210) in South Korea, according to the statement. The device is 0.64 inches (1.63 cm) thick and weighs 2.88 pounds (1.3 kg), compared with the Apple MacBook Air’s 0.68-inch thickness. Like the Apple product, the PC does not have a built-in hard drive and instead has flash memory for storage.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jun Yang in Seoul at jyang180@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Young-Sam Cho at ycho2@bloomberg.net.

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