LG Electronics Inc. of South Korea will close its loss-making mobile division after struggling to find a buyer, making it the first major smartphone brand to fully exit the market.
Its decision to exit would allow Samsung Electronics and Apple Inc to eat into its 10% market share in North America, where it is the No. 3 brand, with its domestic rival expected to have the upper hand.
“LG has targeted mid-priced – if not ultra-low – models in the United States, which means Samsung, which has more mid-priced product lines than Apple, would be better able to attract LG users,” said Ko Eui-young, an analyst at Hi Investment & Securities.
Analysts have also faulted the organization for lacking marketing experience in comparison to Chinese competitors.
LG’s mobile business has lost almost $4.5 billion over the last six years.
LG said in a statement that exiting the highly competitive sector would enable it to concentrate on growth areas such as electric vehicle parts, connected devices, and smart homes.
LG was once the world’s third-largest smartphone maker, behind Samsung and Apple, and was first to market with a range of mobile phone technologies, including ultra-wide angle cameras. At its height in 2013, it was the world’s third-largest smartphone manufacturer.
However, the brand’s flagship models later suffered from both software and hardware flaws, which, coupled with sluggish software updates, saw the brand gradually lose prominence.