Wed, Feb 16, 2011 - Page 10 News List

LG aims for fourfold increase in smartphone sales

Bloomberg

LG Electronics Inc, the world’s third-largest maker of mobile phones, aims to quadruple smartphone sales this year in an effort to turn around its money-losing handset business.

Smartphone sales are targeted to rise to 30 million units, the Seoul-based company said in a statement yesterday, without providing a year-earlier figure. Including other types of handsets, LG plans to sell 150 million phones, a 30 percent increase from last year, according to the statement.

The mobile-phone division posted a third straight quarterly loss last month after LG’s sales of smartphones lagged behind rivals such as Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics Co.

LG is rolling out more of its Optimus models powered by Google Inc’s Android software and equipped with the latest technologies, including 3D functionality, to revive earnings.

“They are trying to be one step ahead of their competitors in adopting new technologies because they’ve been behind,” Lee Soon-hak, a Seoul-based analyst at Mirae Asset Securities Co, said by telephone. “In our view, their competitiveness is recovering.”

The electronics maker will introduce 20 smartphones this year and expand its research and development staff by 15 percent to more than 6,000 employees, the statement said.

The mobile-phone division aims to return to profit this year, unit head Park Jong-seok said at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The turnaround will probably take place in the second quarter, Lee said.

The handset maker unveiled an 8.9-inch tablet computer called the LG Optimus Pad and the LG Optimus 3D smartphone, capable of recording 3D images, at the event this week.

In November, the Optimus One became LG’s first smartphone to sell more than 1 million units, about 40 days after its debut, the company said.

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