LG Pins Last Hopes on Indian Smartphone Market

  • By Park Soon-chan

    June 13, 2019 11:56

    LG has its sights set on India, the only country in the world where the smartphone market continues to grow.

    At the end of this month, LG plans to launch its W-series smartphones exclusively for the Indian market. Industry watchers are curious how LG will fare in India as Huawei, a market leader in the subcontinent, sees deteriorating sales there due to a U.S. boycott.

    LG plans to start selling its first W-series phone named W10 in India through Amazon at the end of this month. The phone features three cameras on the rear and costs less than W200,000 or 9,999 rupees (US$1=W1,183). The cheap price tag was possible because LG used a Chinese company to develop and make the phone.

    LG has suffered four straight years of losses in its smartphone business and is streamlining operations by reassigning workers to other subsidiaries while decreasing the number of models and relocating its manufacturing facilities from Korea to Vietnam within this year.

    "We'd been focusing on the premium smartphone markets in the U.S. and China but now want to target the emerging market like India with low-priced smartphones," an LG staffer said.

    But India is a tough market to crack with Samsung, Xiaomi, OPPO, Vivo and Huawei already competing for a bigger slice. Xiaomi has the lion's share with 30.1 percent, while Samsung accounts for 22.7 percent. Vivo and OPPO also have double-digit market shares. Second-ranked Samsung is trying hard to win back the top spot from Xiaomi.

    The Indian smartphone market is still growing because many customers initially opted for feature phones before smartphones became equally affordable.

    Market watcher Counterpoint Research said India's smartphone market was the only one in the world to grow during the first quarter of this year, at a rate of four percent, even as the global market has been declining for the last six quarters.

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