LG Aims for Fourfold Gain in 2011 Smartphone Sales to Revive Handset Unit

LG Electronics Inc., the world’sthird-largest maker of mobile phones, aims to quadruplesmartphone sales this year in an effort to turn around itsmoney-losing handset business.

Smartphone sales are targeted to rise to 30 million units,the Seoul-based company said in a statement today, withoutproviding a year-earlier figure. Including other types ofhandsets, LG plans to sell 150 million phones, a 30 percentincrease from last year, according to the statement.

The mobile-phone division posted a third straight quarterlyloss last month after LG’s sales of smartphones lagged behindrivals such as Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. LG isrolling out more of its Optimus models powered by Google Inc.’sAndroid software and equipped with the latest technologies,including 3-D functionality, to revive earnings.

“They are trying to be one step ahead of their competitorsin 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 isrecovering.”

LG rose 1.7 percent to 123,500 won as of 9:54 a.m. in Seoultrading, headed for the highest closing level since April 29,while the Kospi index slipped 0.1 percent.

The electronics maker will introduce 20 smartphones thisyear and expand its research and development staff by 15 percentto more than 6,000 employees, according to the statement.

The mobile-phone division aims to return to profit thisyear, Park Jong Seok, head of the unit, said at the Mobile WorldCongress in Barcelona yesterday. The turnaround will probablytake place in the second quarter, Lee said.

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

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

To contact the reporter on this story:Jun Yang in Seoul at jyang180@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story:Young-Sam Cho at ycho2@bloomberg.net.

LG Aims for Fourfold Gain in 2011 Smartphone Sales to Revive Handset Unit

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