Keeping pace with the era of an aging society, Samsung Electronics is preparing to tap into the market of hearing aids, which are the representative medical appliances in the silver industry.
Its rival Apple already entered the market, joining hands with GN ReSound, one of the top three hearing aid companies in the world. Also, the market is rapidly expanding, as the prospect was raised that the global hearing aid market would grow more than 8 percent annually. Therefore, Samsung Electronics decided to foster it as a new growth engine of the company.
According to Samsung Electronics and the relevant industry on April 22, Samsung Electronics recently placed an order of amplifiers worth 15 billion won (US$13.9 million), which is an essential part of manufacturing a hearing aid.
In particular, it is said that this project was strongly influenced by the intention of its Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong. Another official from the industry said, “This project started as part of strengthening the healthcare business that Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong leads.” The movement seems to be a plan to make the hearing aid business into a stepping stone to tap into another blue ocean “Mobile Health Care,” following smart watches, a typical example of wearable devices. The company is aiming to develop and unveil the hearing aid at the beginning of next year, when it reveals Samsung Electronics’ next strategic smartphone model, the “Galaxy S7.”
This project will be led by the medical appliance business division under the Consumer Electronics (CE) department. The division was newly launched before Samsung Electronics took over Samsung Medison in 2011, and it was raised from a team to a business division in 2012. It is noteworthy that the medical appliance business division has merged only the hearing aid business team in Samsung Medison and is propelling the development of a hearing aid.
Samsung Electronics will present a hearing device with a more convenient and improved system that directly connects a receiver wirelessly by mounting a repeater on the smartphone, which is conventionally worn near the waist of a hearing-impaired patient.
The global hearing aid market amounts to US$8.435 billion (9.321 trillion won) this year, and it is expected to grow an annual average rate of 8 percent to US$11.759 billion (12.5915 trillion won) in 2019. The domestic hearing aid market this year will reach 70 billion won (US$64.86 million).