LG’s troubles aren’t showing signs of letting up. A reporter from China Business spoke to a company representative in LG’s Beijing office in recent days, and quoted a company representative as saying LG’s mobile phone business has quit China.
LG have since confirmed that this statement, stating the company is indeed closing its Chinese mobile smartphone division. This really shouldn’t be news, as the last smartphone that LG released in China was the LG G5 SE, a pared back, downmarket version of the already not well received LG G5. It was released in March 2016 to a lukewarm response, and with nothing released since, the only question is why LG waited until February 2018 to make such an announcement.
It’s the last in a line of woes for LG’s smartphone division, which has suffered a number of years of losses. Fortunately for LG, its money isn’t made from the smartphone division, with its much more profitable divisions allowing the smartphone business to remain alive.
The confirmation of LG’s exit from China comes at a time when local manufacturers like Oppo, OnePlus, ZTE and Huawei continue to grow their market share, both home and abroad. It also comes on the heels of news that LG Electronics Vice Chairman Cho Sung-jin announced early last month that the company “.. will unveil new smartphones when it is needed. But we will not launch it just because other rivals do,” meaning the regular timeline we see for its devices is well and truly out the window.
We’re already facing an Mobile World Congress where LG are expected to announce an update LG V30 model rather than an outright new phone. It’ll be interesting to speak to LG faces on the ground about their plans for 2018. Will we see a new top-tier smartphone from LG? If so, will the extra time in development allow LG to come up with something truly special this year? I for one hope so.