The two Korean consumer electronic heavyweights Samsung and LG have gone head to head at the IFA trade show in Berlin despite the Korean Government trying to make out the two are working hand in hand in the best interests of South Korea.
Samsung and LG have both forecast healthy TV sales for the next 12 months. Samsung said it will sell more than 1.2 million LCD TVs this year, about double of last year’s sales. LG said it will see a 30-percent jump in its annual TV sales thanks to the popularity of its LCD and plasma TVs.
Samsung is the world’s largest TV seller in terms of both revenue and number of units sold. Its President Park Jong-woo said it will further expand the gap with runners-up.
“We will maintain our premium brand strategy, and will make more efforts to win the BRICS market,” Park said in a statement released before a press conference held on Friday, local time.
Park also forecast that his Digital Media division will accomplish its record-high performance of 25 trillion won in revenue and 1 trillion won in operating profit this year. The division sells TVs, camcorders, music players, PCs and printers.
On the same day, LG President Kang Shin-ik said that his Digital Device division will post a 30 percent rise this year and will have 11 trillion won in revenue. Though the division is likely to have a 4 to 5 percent of that as an operating loss, he said, it will be able to turn the table from the fourth quarter of this year.
The LG chief also said that it is aiming to be one of the top three TV sellers in the world by 2010 by snatching more than 15 percent of the market share.
“Only four or five makers will survive in the worldwide TV market in the long term, and we must get into the top three for stable growth,” he said in a separate press conference.
The two press meetings attest the antagonistic sentiment between the rival companies won’t ease off very soon.
Samsung and LG have been engaged in fierce rivalry for a decade so they have seldom bought parts from each other’s subsidiaries even if they had to import them from other countries. This year, LG has proposed easing the tension by cross-purchasing liquid-crystal display (LCD) panels. But Samsung has flatly refused it, arguing that they don’t feel any reason to help out competitors in such an arbitrary way.
The tension continued in Berlin. LG’s Kang said in a casual manner that the firm wants to buy large LCD panels from Samsung to make 50-inch TVs. But Samsung’s Park said gingerly that the firm may not have enough panels produced to meet all the demands from its customers.
Samsung’s Crown Prince Visits IFA
Also presenting at the IFA show were Lee Jae-yong, the heir of Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee, and Yun Jong-yong, CEO and vice chairman of Samsung Electronics.
They toured the booths with an entourage of some 20 assistants, Yonhap reported. The junior Lee has the title of the chief customer officer (COO), whose main role is to maintain good relationships with important customers and business partners.
“The exhibition booths all look good, but I see nothing new among them,” Yun was quoted as saying as he left the expo.