Samsung, LG Outdo Each Other in Home Appliances

Competition between Samsung and LG in premium home appliances is heating up. LG last month launched the most expensive refrigerator in Korea, priced in the region of W6 million (US$1=W1,072), and just three weeks later, Samsung released a new model priced at around W7 million.

The two giant companies have more products at the very top end in the pipeline, both hoping to create the image of a premium brand and lead the global market.

Samsung on Wednesday announce the release of the "Chef Collection" refrigerator, the firm's most expensive ever. Samsung unveiled the premium range at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January.

The four models in the collection cost between W5.89 million to W7.39 million. The previous record was set just less than a month ago by LG on Feb. 17. Despite the high price, over 120 of them have already sold since they hit stores on March 3.

Actress Jeon Ji-hyun poses with Yoon Boo-keun, Samsungs president of consumer electronics, at a launch in Seoul on Wednesday. /Courtesy of Samsung Electronics Actress Jeon Ji-hyun poses with Yoon Boo-keun, Samsung's president of consumer electronics, at a launch in Seoul on Wednesday. /Courtesy of Samsung Electronics

The company claims famous chefs were consulted at the planning and design stage of the collection. Based on the opinion that it is important to keep food at a consistent temperature, Samsung tried to minimize fluctuations.

"Existing refrigerators tend to experience fluctuations of about 2 degrees below and above the set temperature. But the margin has been reduced to 0.5 degrees each way," it said.

As chefs said the texture of meat and fish is best preserved if they are stored at -1 degree Celsius, Samsung included a separate shelf for meat and fish kept at that temperature.

The firm plans to expand the premium lineup by adding dishwashers and ovens.

A model promotes an LG refrigerator in Seoul on Feb. 17. /Courtesy of LG Electronics A model promotes an LG refrigerator in Seoul on Feb. 17. /Courtesy of LG Electronics

LG is also trying to build up premium image in kitchen appliances. In addition to the high-end refrigerator launched last month, the firm is targeting the North American market with a package of premium kitchen appliances priced at over US$10,000.

Both companies hope to boost their brand value with these premium appliances to lead the global home appliances market by 2015.

Cho Sung-jin, president of home appliances at LG, said, "We've established a premium image for refrigerators and washing machines, but we need to expand brand recognition to other home appliances for further growth. Our aim is to raise the brand image across the board."

englishnews@chosun.com / Mar. 13, 2014 12:36 KST