South Korea's Samsung Electronics plans to launch six new MP3 players later this year in an attempt to steal iPod marketshare.

The company promises to ship ten more players (under its Yepp brand) next year. It hopes to increase its sales to 5 million units next year - a fraction of Apple's sales so far this year,

"We will have a total of 12 new MP3 models this year and plan to introduce between five and seven flash-based models and some two hard disk drive models in 2006," Park Hyun-joo, an assistant manager of the Seoul-based company's marketing division, told Reuters.

The report estimates the global MP3 player market will reach 45 million units in 2005, growing to 60 million in 2006.

"As the MP3 market grows more than 20 per cent a year, we need to raise production to keep pace with market growth," Hyun-joo said.