LG Electronics

LG steps up China smartphone push with G3 launch

PUBLISHED : Monday, 11 August, 2014, 3:56am
UPDATED : Monday, 11 August, 2014, 4:35am

LG Electronics will begin selling today its latest flagship smartphone in China, a market where it has struggled to make a dent and that has become increasingly tough for makers of high-end handsets other than Apple.

Eager to capitalise on strong early reception for its G3, the company said last week that it would sell the device through online shopping site JD.com at 3,999 yuan (HK$5,030).

While that is lower than its 899,800 won (HK$6,720) launch price at home in South Korea in May, it is more than twice as high as feature-rich phones offered by domestic players that have battered the likes of global No1 Samsung Electronics in China.

LG ranked fifth in global smartphone sales in the second quarter, IDC said, but did not crack top 10 lists in China, the world's biggest smartphone market.

It could struggle to pick up meaningful early market share as it will not have local carriers pushing the device. Apple, by comparison, sealed a long-awaited distribution tie-up in December with China Mobile, the world's biggest carrier.

An LG spokeswoman said the firm opted to go only with JD.com for now to cut distribution costs, noting that non-carrier vendors accounted for more than half the handset sales in China.

The G3 has won praise as a major improvement on its predecessor. Sporting a high-resolution 5.5-inch screen and features like laser focus for the camera, LG has said reception for the device has been better than anticipated.

Tom Kang, an analyst with Counterpoint in Seoul, said the new phone's high-quality display would be an attraction for Chinese buyers but the absence of carrier subsidies and distribution would be a challenge.