LG Charges Ahead with Plasma Business

Moon Ihlwan

LG Electronics execs almost sound like a broken record player when they talk about the company’s ambition to be a top-tier consumer electronics player within a couple of years. Its target is to become a global leader in digital TVs by 2007 or 2008, and the world’s No. 3 maker of mobile phones by 2008 or 2009.

These are all tall orders, but as far as the manufacturing of plasma displays is concerned the Korean company shows signs of reaching there. In the first six months of this year, LG sold 1.45 million plasma display panels for big screen TVs to grab a global market share of 30.6%, edging past long-time leader Matsushita Electric Industrial of Japan, whose share stood at 27.5%. LG says it will keep expanding its monthly plasma capacity to 550,000 panels later this year and 730,000 next year from the current 310,000 in order to stay ahead of Matsushita.

The strategy is part of a game plan to overtake Matsushita as the largest maker of TVs using plasma technology. In the January-March quarter of this year, Matsushita controlled 21.6 percent of the global plasma TV market, followed by LG Electronics with 17.8 percent and Samsung Electronics with 14%, according to research firm DisplaySearch. An LG spokesman says the company’s goal is to increase its plasma TV share to around 20% by next year to close the gap with Matsushita and become the leader in 2008. LG expect the world’s plasma TV demand to grow to 25 million units in 2010 from 12 million this year.

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