Photo: LG Rollable promo. Credit: Website of LG Electronics.
On January 20, LG Electronics LG전자’s CEO Kwon Bong-seok 권봉석 announced that the company was “reviewing the direction of the [smartphone] business with all possibilities open” - likely meaning that LG Electronics will sell or otherwise dispose of its smartphone division. Although LG Electronics has a solid third place market share in the United States with 14.7% as well as in South Korea with 13% (behind Samsung Electronics 삼성전자 and Apple in both countries,) Kwon said the smartphone division has been running a deficit for 23 quarters in a row, with the cumulative loss of KRW 5t (USD 4.2b) in the period.
It would be an ignominious end for LG Electronics’ cell phone business, which at one point was leading the world with the sleekly designed Chocolate Phone 초콜릿폰 in 2005 but failed to transition quickly enough to the smartphone era, as did other previous generation cell phone giants like Motorola and Nokia. The share price for LG Electronics jumped by 12.84% in response to the announcement.