LG Sells 5 Million Viewty Mobile Phones

LG Electronics, the world's fourth-biggest mobile phone maker, said Sunday sales of its strategic touch-based "Viewty" mobile phones surpassed the five million mark. Viewty made its debut in October 2007.

LG officials attributed sales to impressive performances in its key European and North American markets. LG sold 2.6 million Viewty units in Europe during the period.

"Sales have reached 4.65 million and 350,000 in overseas and local markets, respectively, thus far," spokesman Park Seung-koo said, Sunday.

Park, however, declined to give details on Viewty sales in North America.

Viewty was introduced to the local market in December 2007.

LG is tasked with making specific models into hit items on the global market, as brand image is a major necessity of the company.

To find a breakthrough amid sagging momentum in the developed but saturated North American and European markets, LG plans to enter the low-end handset market in the first half of this year, to compete with bigger rivals such as Nokia in emerging markets.

LG has targeted single-digit profit growth in the less-pricey segment within a few years.

The company aims to introduce a mid-tier key flagship model with a sales target of over 10 million this year. Its mobile chief, Ahn Seung-kwon, recently said his division is now increasing its number of outlets, with improved product images.

"We will be more aggressive, albeit selectively, in marketing our key strategic models, to maintain the premium image on our products and to increase the likelihood of success in the low-tier market," another LG spokesman said.

LG is forecast to have 300 billion won in operating profits in the fourth quarter due to decreased demand for consumer electronics products amid the global downturn, according to estimates by brokerages.

In the third quarter, LG shipped 23 million handsets globally, thanks to high sales of the Viewty and Secret models.

LG is expected to have achieved its annual target of 100 million handsets last year, compared with 80.5 million in 2007.

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