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September 12, 2018

Samsung’s new ‘Opera House’ store is its biggest in the world

by John_A



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Manjunath Kiran/AFP/Getty Images

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Manjunath Kiran/AFP/Getty Images

Samsung has just opened its biggest “mobile experience store” worldwide to promote its smartphones, tablets, and other related tech kit.

The new store is in the Indian city of Bengaluru — also known as Bangalore — a place that’s made a name for itself as the nation’s tech capital.

Samsung has renovated the city’s grand Opera House building, which was constructed during the British colonial era, to make the space its own.

Similar to the lavish Samsung 837 location that opened in New York City in 2016, Samsung Opera House isn’t a place for buying stuff. Instead, it’s about trying stuff and having experiences (though it’d definitely like you to make a purchase at one of its many resellers or brand stores afterwards).

In Samsung’s own words, it wants to “bring together technology, lifestyle, and innovation to offer people unique experiences.”

Those experiences include getting hands-on with Samsung’s smartphones, tablets, and wearable devices, and trying out Samsung tech linked to virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and the internet of things.

“For those who enjoy the thrills of kayaking or rowing, a not-to-be-missed VR experience is awaiting them,” Samsung offers as an example in its marketing bumph, adding, “Fitness enthusiasts can cycle through scenic Europe, racing alongside a friend.” The space also includes a “home theater zone” where people can watch movies and TV shows with friends and family.

Battling with Xiaomi

The opening of Samsung Opera House reflects the company’s efforts to boost its profile in a country where it’s currently the leading smartphone seller alongside Chinese tech company Xiaomi. During the most recent quarter for which figures are available, the two firms accounted for 60 percent of smartphone sales in India, with each one selling 10 million devices.

Samsung had dominated the Indian market for more than five years until 2017 when it was toppled by Xiaomi, but this year’s data suggests it’s staging a comeback. Apple, meanwhile, has less than two percent of the Indian smartphone market, with most consumers continuing to opt for cheaper devices over Apple’s pricier offerings.

Hoping to capitalize on its resurgence, Samsung recently opened a 32-acre mobile-phone factory near the Indian capital of New Delhi, a facility that it claims is the largest in the world of its type. The factory will enable the Korean tech giant to manufacture as many as 120 million phones a year in the country, almost doubling its current capacity.

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