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Samsung Suffers Setbacks in India

8:30 AM -- Some soul searching might be in order at Samsung Corp. in India, where the handset vendor has been experiencing some difficulties, both internally and with some partners.

According to industry sources, the second largest mobile device player in India has lost some senior executives during the past few months, with Sudhir Gaur, the regional manager in the North, having left to join local handset firm Micromax Informatics Ltd. , and Pankaj Chopra, regional manager for the Central region, having resigned. Unconfirmed reports circulating the Indian handset market suggest other senior employees may follow suit.

The company has already lost its mobile handset country manager: Sunil Dutt left in October 2009 and is now with HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ).

Samsung is also experiencing problems with its channel relationships. As many as three distributors are believed to have left Samsung during the past two to three months. Currently, the company is without a distributor in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Haryana, three important states in North India. The loss of the distributors could explain the recent reduction in sales. Samsung had been achieving monthly sales of around 1.2 million, but was down to 900,000 handsets in December 2009.

Industry speculation suggests the distributors that left Samsung are now working with LG Electronics Inc. (London: LGLD; Korea: 6657.KS) , which needs all the help it can get: The company has slipped to fourth in India's handset market share table, behind Micromax, which is growing fast. Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) is still the clear market leader. (See Indian Handset Firms Grab Market Share.)

— Gagandeep Kaur, India Editor, Light Reading

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