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SEOUL (Reuters) - Samsung Electronics Co Ltd on Monday named its youngest president as its new smartphone chief as the firm seeks to defend its lead in the handset market from rising challenges from rivals such as Huawei Technologies Co Ltd.
The South Korean firm also promoted the head of its network equipment business, which analysts said got a lift from a U.S. campaign to convince allies to bar Huawei from their networks.
Samsung took an early lead in smartphones running on quicker fifth-generation (5G) telecommunication networks, but Huawei is widely expected to boost sales of 5G-capable smartphones and equipment this year, leveraging its huge home market.
“Samsung’s reshuffle seems aimed at coping with a potential major market change with the new technology,” said analyst Tom Kang at Counterpoint. “The young executive is known to be decisive and so is likely to respond swiftly to that change to defend Samsung’s lead from Huawei.”
Long-time smartphone leader Samsung held a 21% market share in the third quarter, but Huawei closed in with 18%, showed the latest data from Counterpoint. That came even as Huawei in May was banned from doing business with most U.S. firms, preventing its access to technology like Alphabet Inc’s Android.
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