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Amid challenges, Samsung changes mobile chief for first time in 6 years

Sure, Samsung continues to sell masses of mobiles around the world and remains one of the leading smartphone manufacturers globally, but growing pressure on its business from the likes of Huawei and rising star Xiaomi has persuaded the company to change its mobile communications president for the first time in six years and rethink its strategy.

Out goes 59-year-old JK Shin, in comes Dongjin Koh, 54, the Korean company’s former head of mobile R&D who led the development of Samsung’s mobile operating system, Tizen, as well as Samsung Pay, the company’s mobile payments platform, Reuters reported Tuesday.

The change means doesn’t mean Shin will be retiring to a tropical island anytime soon. The highly experienced executive, who oversaw Samsung’s rapid rise in the smartphone business as well as its recent difficulties, will move away from day-to-day operations to concentrate on long-term planning geared toward rejuvenating the company’s mobile business.

And don’t forget, Shin is still Samsung Electronics’ co-CEO, too.

Related: Everything you need to know about Samsung Pay

The changes come amid a rocky patch for Samsung’s mobile unit. Despite third-quarter data showing the unit’s first profit gain in two years, its growth rate continues to lag behind that of Apple. In addition, there are deepening concerns over the growing popularity of regional rivals offering powerful handsets at attractive prices.

The tech giant also took a hit earlier this year when it misjudged demand for the Galaxy S6 Edge. It failed to have enough devices ready for stores after predicting the Galaxy S6 would be the more popular handset when the phones launched together in April.

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Despite the difficulties, Samsung has forecast a healthy fourth quarter for smartphone sales, but cautions that sales are indeed slowing. In an effort to boost the appeal of its devices, one of the plans is to place a greater emphasis on highlighting software features like Samsung Pay, a strategy the tech company hopes will win it new customers.