LG Electronics is set for more low-tier phones in emerging markets and expects to see slender growth in handset sales in 2009, according to its mobile chief.
The handset manufacturer will be ‘more competitive’ and it aims to introduce a mid-tier flagship model with a sales target of over 10 million next year. It also hopes to raise its marketshare amid the growing economic downturn from 8% to 10% in 2009.
LG's 2009 plan has half of its sales from high-end phones, while mid-tier and low-end phones will take up 30% and 20% respectively.
LG mobile communications unit president and chief executive, Scott Ahn, said the handset manufacturer’s growth would slow noticeably and added that its average growth rate of around 30% would slow to only ‘slight’ growth next year.
LG sold 23 million phones in the third quarter of this year, down from a record 27.7 million in the second. Its operating profit margin on handsets has been steadily falling – from 15.9 percent in the first quarter to the second quarter's 14.4 percent and the third quarter's 11.5 percent.
Until recently, handset makers have remained relatively unscathed by the economic crisis. However, last month Nokia issued a warning that market volumes and overall telecommunications equipment were set to fall in 2009.
LG also plans to introduce over 10 smartphone models, and has formed an alliance with Microsoft to collaborate on mobile strategy.