With the competition for 5G smartphones expected to heat up this year, LG is planning a different approach to how they will release and market their devices. Instead of releasing all their products in all territories, they will be focusing their premium 5G smartphones in Europe and in the U.S., while in their native Korea, they will be marketing their more price-friendly “mass premium” smartphones. Their game plan will be “different strategies for different regions,” according to Shin Jae-suk, the team lead for LG Electronics’ Mobile Communication Business.
The Elec published a report based on the conference call from Shin for LG’s Q4 business earnings. They decided to launch their more premium, and therefore more expensive, 5G devices in the European and North American markets since the consumers here are more “receptive” to the higher price tags. Not only will they be releasing devices like the LG V60 ThinQ only in these territories, they will also be doing “aggressive marketing campaigns.”
As for their own territory, they will be focusing on the mass premium smartphones or more affordable 5G devices. Shin says that the competition between telecoms have sort of slowed down and so the market may be looking for 5G devices that are more affordable. While he didn’t exactly say what products these are, industry watchers are assuming it will be the G series.
For the European, American, Japanese, and Korean markets, they want to take advantage of the fact that Apple will not yet be releasing any 5G iPhone this first half of the year and that Huawei is still experiencing troubles with the U.S. government. LG is also looking at ODM (originally designed manufacturing) models for the mid and low-tier models. They will focus on ODM for the 20 million of the 34 million handsets it will produce.
LG’s mobile business posted an operating loss of KRW 332.2 billion for the last quarter of 2019 but LG Electronics overall had a 1.6% increase in sales and a 9.9% growth in operating profit for the whole year. Let’s see if this strategy will help the mobile business perform better this year.