Samsung Electronics Co. is planning to enter the online music business with a service similar to Apple Computer Inc.'s popular iTunes (search), Choi Gee-sung, the head of the company's digital media business, said.

Samsung Electronics spokeswoman Kwon Hyo-sun, citing the company's digital media division, said Monday that Choi made the comments Friday to South Korean reporters.

Choi said that Samsung will cooperate with several partners, both foreign and donestic, in developing the service, but didn't say when it would be launched, according to Kwon.

Apple dominates the online music business with its hot-selling iPod digital music player and iTunes service, which allows users to pay for songs and download them. The company introduced a new iPod in October that is capable of playing everything from TV shows to music videos.

Software giant Microsoft Corp. and others have struggled to match Apple's success with its iPod player and music service.

Samsung, the world's largest memory chip maker and a major manufacturer of consumer electronics including flat-screen televisions and mobile handsets, supplies flash memory (search) chips, used in MP3 players and digital cameras, to the Cupertino, Calif.-based company for use in its new, pencil-thin iPod Nano music player.

Choi said that Samsung expect to sell 3.7 million MP3 players this year, double last year's total.

The English-language version of the Chosun Ilbo newspaper on Sunday quoted Choi as saying that Samsung MP3 players were superior to Apples but suffered for not having a music service.

Samsung is the world's second-largest semiconductor maker after Intel Corp. and is also one of the largest manufacturers of liquid crystal displays (search), or LCDs, along with domestic rival LG Philips LCD Co.