Richard Browne, Business Reporter
South Korean technology company Samsung is to open a flagship store in Kingston called the Samsung Experience Shop to push its products.
The Jamaican store will open on Thursday at Tropical Plaza on Constant Spring Road - a location which already has a large Digicel outlet as well as a competing LIME store.
The Samsung Experience is part of a global Samsung strategy to promote its brands in a way that is similar to Apple Stores.
The technology company has been opening shops across the globe in countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, Thailand and Singapore. The largest expansion is in the United States where the shops have been rolling out inside 1,400 Best Buy stores from April this year. The Best Buy chain also has Apple stores, allowing the two brands to compete in the same retail space.
The Samsung Experience Shop retails the company's full range of mobile products including smartphones, tablets, laptops, connected cameras and accessories, all from one location.
The shops "enable consumers to interact with and buy Samsung's latest mobile products and experience how the devices connect together to enrich their lives," says the Samsung website.
The company's newest innovations are the smartwatch, the Galaxy Gear, which can make calls, display messages, record videos and snap photos. It also comes with a number of apps, including ones for fitness, such as a step-counting 'passometer'.
Both the Galaxy Note 3 tablet and Galaxy Gear are set to launch starting from today, September 25, in more than 140 countries around the world.
As it stands, Samsung already has some well-established stars in the Jamaican market and has become the new must-have smartphone.
BlackBerry was the dominant mobile phone brand in Jamaica until fairly recently, but Samsung is really the new star on the Jamaican scene and commands as much as "60 to 70 per cent of the smart phone market" according to Diana Stewart, store manager for FiMi Wireless in downtown Kingston.
"The Samsung Galaxy S3 and S4s are in high demand over every other brand," Stewart said, mainly because of the features of the Android phone. "There was never anything to compete with the BlackBerry before."
Samsung is a global leader in technology and employs 236,000 people across 79 countries with annual sales of US$187.8billion.
Samsung operates an office in Jamaica, but the retail store will be managed from Samsung's office in Miami, according to a representative of the company.
Samsung Electronic Latino America Miami Inc was incorporated in Jamaica in May 2012, according to Companies Office records.
The store will sell only Samsung's mobile products, the person said.