Samsung has a monopoly on the foldable phone market in most parts of the world, including Hong Kong, as competition from Motorola remains largely negligible and Chinese foldables have so far been for domestic release only. This is set to change in 2023, as major Chinese brands such as Honor and OnePlus have either hinted at or confirmed foldable releases for the global market – which means there’s about to be a challenge to Samsung’s hegemony. But managing director of Samsung Hong Kong Yiyin Zhao is confident that the South Korean brand can keep its top spot in the city’s foldable market. “From a product perspective, if we’re talking about the full picture including software and ecosystem, we are confident in the edge [Samsung foldables] have [over Chinese foldables],” she says, adding that healthy competition will only push Samsung to continue innovating. The company is already doubling down on its foldable phone marketing and focusing on an experience-driven initiative. Hong Kong’s advanced phone market, where consumers are “willing to spend more on premium products”, has made marketing Samsung’s foldable phone series easier, explains Zhao, who’s worked for the Korean electronics giant in Hong Kong since 2009. Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro review: Google’s smartest phones yet powered by AI The US$1,900 Galaxy Z Fold 4 , for example, is considered an extravagant luxury item in regions like Vietnam or India, but in Hong Kong, its HK$14,598 price tag is not considered too pricey by many. While declining to reveal exact sales numbers, Zhao says Samsung’s foldable phone series – which also includes the Z Flip 4 – is close to topping the conventional Galaxy S phones as the company’s bestselling phones in Hong Kong. Sales of its foldable phones are growing faster in the city than in many other regions. Zhao says part of Samsung Hong Kong’s strategy was to simply put the foldable phones in the hands of consumers so they could see why they are widely considered by industry analysts to represent the future of the mobile phone. To that end, Samsung Hong Kong recently opened Galaxy Z Mansion, a month-long pop-up space in the city’s Causeway Bay shopping hub. Zhao says the space was different in that Samsung was not trying to complete sales right there. In fact, nothing was on sale there – instead, it was all about the foldable experience. “Everyone who entered the [Z Mansion] was handed a foldable phone, and we just let them experience the product inside the two-storey space,” she says. A similar pop-up in New Town Plaza, Sha Tin, runs until November 17. Samsung Hong Kong was so confident in the product that it also launched a free trial programme in which Hong Kong residents could pick up a Samsung foldable phone, try it for five days, and then decide whether they wanted to buy the phone or not. OnePlus 10T: fast charging, takes great low-light photos, no zoom lens Zhao says over 50 per cent of those who took part in the trial ended up buying the device. Industry insiders believe these consumer-focused initiatives are necessary if Samsung is to keep the competition at bay. Samsung may be the world’s number one phone maker in terms of units sold, but mainland China remains a tough market for the South Korean tech giant to crack, given consumers there are spoiled for choice. Its smartphones have generally been overshadowed and overtaken by Chinese offerings from brands that use a combination of aggressive release cycles, bricks-and-mortar stores and competitive pricing to achieve rapid growth. Samsung is the number two phone brand in Hong Kong, with a 31 per cent market share, trailing Apple ’s 44 per cent. The company still faces stiff competition from Chinese brands such as Xiaomi and Vivo – and this is in a city where phone users’ tastes are more aligned with those of the West than mainland China.