From Social Initiatives To New Product Launches, Samsung Aims To Boost Egypt's Economy



Tue, 06 Sep 2016 - 12:18 GMT


Tue, 06 Sep 2016 - 12:18 GMT

From product launches to CSR initiatives, Sherif Barakat, vice president of Samsung Electronics Egypt, talks about how the technology giant is helping grow Egypt’s economy.

by Muhammad Ghamrawy

As Samsung plans to release a new set of exclusive products this month, Egypt Today interviews Sherif Barakat, vice president of Samsung Electronics Egypt, to find out all about Samsung’s new investments and plans in Egypt. What new products can Samsung fans look forward to this year?

We’re gearing up to launch two new innovative products that will be available on the market in September. The first is a TV with quantum dot technology, which represents a major leap forward in image quality, as it displays the colors accurately in their natural condition. We also perked up the rear of the TV to become part of the home décor. The second innovative home appliance is the twin-cooling system fridge, which provides dual cooling, and maintains the purity of the food over long periods of time. Both these products are expected to achieve a ramp-up in sales.

samsung egypt quantum dot tv

How do you perceive the Egyptian market?

The Egyptian market is dynamic, and this encourages technological advance, which fits the Samsung policy as the Egyptian consumer now has specific aspirations, and has an insatiable appetite for every new technology, but wants affordable prices too.

How is Samsung planning to increase its market share in Egypt?

Samsung’s plans are still in progress, as the company is currently evolving its capabilities, and now provides after-sales services to please the customer. Samsung now has 70 authorized service centers in Egypt so it can be in direct contact with the public, and has inaugurated a new spare parts warehouse in 6th of October at a total investment cost of about LE 100 million to bring down the delivery time. All this will further reinforce our presence in the market, and help us in getting closer to the customer.

Egypt is a competitive market. What’s Samsung’s edge?

At Samsung, we are pursuing the modesty policy that stems from Korean culture. So we view competition as a positive and motivating thing, as it pushes Samsung to stay ahead. The competition helps us to keep up with the Egyptian consumers, as they have the right to get the best technology at affordable prices. Samsung is at the forefront of mobile sales, leading the supremacy in the smartphone market, and is at the top of the TV sector too. What distinguishes Samsung from other competitors is that we are reaching all segments of the Egyptian people. For example, we are still manufacturing the simple feature phones, despite the market moving toward the smartphone. And soon, we will release Note 7. How has Samsung cooperated with the state to prop up the economy?

There is a close cooperation between Samsung and the state. Samsung invested $250 million to set up a factory in the Beni Suef governorate four years ago after the January 25 Revolution in 2011. It was our first in the Middle East and Africa at a time when investors hesitated to pump more money and investments into the country. Our investments are continuing, and now we are considering with the government how to increase our investments. We have conducted many studies to see how we can boost our production capacity and export the factory’s output to more countries, as increasing the quantity of exports generates many benefits to the Egyptian economy at this critical time like bringing in foreign currency. And we are expecting to see further developments, as all indications suggest that the Egyptian economy will grow by 4 percent.

How is Samsung dealing with the current foreign currency crisis?

We have a privilege here, as the Beni Suef factory is bringing in sufficient sums of money in foreign currencies through exports, giving new momentum to move on, in case the banks cannot supply foreign currency. Our position is stronger than other competitors in the Egyptian market, and the possession of foreign currency allows greater flexibility to meet our needs.

Why Beni Suef for the factory?

Developing Upper Egypt is so essential, that’s why we chose Beni Suef to build our factory where we manufacture televisions and monitors. Our core belief in social responsibility drove us to convince the administration in South Korea to construct the factory in Kom Abu Radi Industrial Zone, to serve the surrounding community by providing services and jobs. All workers at the factory are from Beni Suef.

What other social responsibility initiatives has Samsung rolled out?

Samsung jumpstarted three social responsibility initiatives. The first, dubbed “Smart School,” aims at equipping 30 low-tech schools with the latest gadgets, including smart boards and computers, in addition to providing them with Internet services, with the aim of improving the students’ learning process. This initiative is designed with a total budget of $300,000, and is supposed to kick off in days.

The second initiative is called “Sono School”, and it aims to provide hospitals with the latest medical equipment and to train doctors on how to use information technology to provide higher-quality care to patients. In turn, the hospitals will share this newly gained experience to medicine graduates. Up till now, four university hospitals (Ain Shams, Qasr al-Aini, Alexandria and Mansoura) are on board.

The third initiative involves erecting a pedestrian bridge across al-Azhar Street, especially after the rise in car accidents there. The dream project has been in the works for two years, but is now in progress and is supposed to be inaugurated this year. Samsung is keen on allocating as much of its budget to such social initiatives, and we are currently communicating with the parent company for more initiatives for the coming year. How much does Samsung spend on product development?

Approximately $14 billion every year. What vision do you want to realize through your new role at Samsung?

Our main goal here is to convince the parent company to step up its investments in Egypt, and to increase the production volume of the locally manufactured products in Egypt, in addition to funding and supporting more social responsibility initiatives.



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