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By Lee Minji
SEOUL, March 12 (Yonhap) -- Samsung SDI Co. topped the global market for lithium-ion batteries for the third straight year in 2012, helped by growing demand for mobile devices, data showed Tuesday.
The company shipped 1.07 billion cells last year, claiming 26 percent of the global lithium-ion battery market, according to the data by Japanese market researcher B3.
One cell is generally used for batteries for smartphones or tablet PCs, while a larger number of cells are used for bigger batteries such as those for electric cars.
Samsung SDI's steady market share was attributed to continued demand for batteries for Samsung Electronics Co.'s Galaxy smartphone series as well as its efforts to expand supplies for electric bikes, according to the report.
Meanwhile, the report showed that South Korean manufacturers beat Japanese and Chinese battery makers for the second straight year.
By company, Japan's Panasonic Corp. ranked second with an 18.7 percent market share, followed by South Korean firm LG Chem Co. with a 17.5 percent. Japan's Sony Corp. ranked fourth with an 8-percent stake.
Samsung SDI welcomed the results and attributed the result to its portfolio diversification efforts.
"Last year, Samsung SDI improved its sales structure with a focus on lucrative products for smartphones and tablet PCs," said Samsung SDI chief Park Sang-jin.
Samsung SDI, which saw its net profit grow 1.3 percent on-year in the fourth quarter, vowed to bolster its lead in the small-size battery business earlier this year.
The market for smaller batteries is expected to grow 9 percent this year in terms of revenue, fueled by solid demand for mobile devices, according to projections by Samsung SDI.
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