LG Plans To Sell 40M Smartphones This Year As It Prepares Optimus G Pro Launch

LG Electronics, which lost market share to Huawei and ZTE last year, aims to sell 40 million smartphones this year as part of its strategy to move away from basic handsets, said Park Jong Seok, the head of its mobile-communications division, before the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. If the South Korean company hits its goal, this means LG’s shipments will rise 52 percent this year. LG sold 26.3 million smartphones last year and 20.2 million in 2011.

LG will rollout the Optimus G Pro in over 50 new countries in the next few months as part of its effort to compete with the iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy line. The Optimus line’s importance in LG’s efforts to reshape its image as a maker of premium devices is underscored by how quickly it has been introducing new models. That Optimus G Pro’s predecessor, the Optimus G, has sold over a million units since launching in the U.S., Canada, Korea, and Japan back in November.

Kim Ki Young, an analyst at Seoul-based LIG Investment & Securities Co., told Bloomberg that LG’s strategy is similar to that of HTC, which unveiled its One model last week after its market share plummeted by more than half in 18 months, but looks more likely to succeed. “LG’s brand image in the premium league has improved. The company also seems to have higher growth potential than HTC and BlackBerry,” Kim said.

LG’s total phone sales halved in two years after its basic handset models faltered in competition with devices from Chinese manufacturers like Huawei, the Chinese company that overtook LG as a Top 5 vendor in the overall mobile phone market in Q4 2012, according to International Data Corp.