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Asus to enter deeper into S. Korean smarthphone market

All Headlines 14:00 June 24, 2014

By Kang Yoon-seung

SEOUL, June 24 (Yonhap) -- Taiwan-based ASUSTeK Computer Inc., also known as Asus, said Tuesday it plans to tap deeper into the South Korean smartphone market with its latest model, expanding its presence in the local market for tablet PCs and laptops.

"Through the third quarter of 2014, Asus will continue to focus on its tablet lineup," said Shin Woo-yeol, a marketing official from Asus. "However, the firm will also focus more on laptops and smartphones later in the second half."

Earlier this month, Asus showcased the 7-inch Fonepad 7 LTE phablet, which is powered by Google Inc.'s Android 4.4, or KitKat. It marked the first time for the company to introduce a smartphone to South Korea, the home of the world's biggest maker of smartphones: Samsung Electronics Co.

The entrance of the Taiwanese player came as a significant event for local tech players, as HTC, a major Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer, had moved out of the South Korean market in 2012, citing its weak performance here.

"The sales performance of the Fonepad LTE phablet in South Korea, however, still remains sluggish, as it is relatively new," Shin said.

Shin added Asus may consider releasing a smaller sized smartphone in the South Korean market by the end of this year, although the detailed schedule is not yet decided.

Industry watchers expect Asus' launch of smartphones in South Korea may threaten South Korean players, which already have been engaging in fierce competitions with Chinese firms in the low-end sector.

Along with the phablet, Asus also recently released the 7-inch and 8-inch MeMo Pads, Wifi-based tablet PCs.

On Tuesday, Asus also showcased the Transformer Pad (TF103C), a device that has a detachable keyboard to boost portability, and the ROG G750, a laptop that specializes in features related to playing games, for the first time in South Korea.

"Through differentiated products and continued innovations, Asus plans to accelerate its penetration into the market through a full lineup that covers laptops, tablet PCs and mobile computing," the company added.

colin@yna.co.kr
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