LG India’s MD Soon Kwon shares with Niharika Singh and Priyanka Sahay the company’s strategies for the Indian market and concerns about the launch of 4G handsets. Excerpts from the interview:
With the launch of flagship model Optimus G Pro, LG seems to be coming back very aggressively into the Indian smartphone market. You also plan to target 10% market share in the smartphone category by the end of 2014. What are your strategies to obtain that?
I think you will now see much more aggressive handset promotion from LG. We have decided to go very aggressive, in terms of bringing new technology products and introduce these products in a much more aggressive manner in the market. I think the products, channel coverage and very creative marketing will be crucial. And we are completely ready.
What could be the price range for the LG products in the coming days?
You will see many different price points. Today, we are launching LG Optimus at the price of Rs 42,500 and we will also cover lower entry-level smartphones at the price range of Rs 5,000 and Rs 6,000. So today, the smartphone the price coverage is expanding -- downwards as well as towards the upper end.
Would you take on your competitors who already have smartphones in the range of Rs 3,000-40,000?
Our focus will be more on the high-end products, but that does not mean we can ignore the lower-end products. If you want to become a meaningful player in mobile phones, you have to cater to all the different consumer segments. I wouldn’t specify the price range, but (LG’s focus will be) from the low-end to the very high-end smartphone.
How many product launches can we see in the coming year?
By the end of next year, we have close to 30 different smartphones waiting in line to be launched in the Indian market.
With the launch of 4G services across the country, what are LG’s plan to launch low-end 4G handsets?
There is a demand (for 4G handsets) as the service providers always want to grow their subscription numbers. The handset price is a very critical point but you have seen the price erosion in this season. It will come down definitely, but from a manufacturer’s point of view, we don’t want to go in the very low-end entry-level of the 4G from the very beginning. So, as time goes by, maybe two years or three years from now, you will be able to see the affordable 4G.