LG is considering leaving the smartphone business

LG might be an industry leader when it comes to the likes of televisions, monitors, and home appliances, but it’s a small player in the world of smartphones, struggling to catch up with its rivals. Now, the company is reportedly considering hanging up on its mobile business for good.
LG shipped 6.5 million smartphones in Q3 2020, down 7.2 million compared to the same quarter a year earlier. With the group losing about 5 trillion won ($4.5 billion) across the last five years and holding just a two percent global market share, CEO Kwon Bong-seok has advised staff in an internal memo that big changes are coming, according to The Korean Herald.

“Since the competition in the global market for mobile devices is getting fiercer, it is about time for LG to make a cold judgment and the best choice,” an LG official told the publication. “The company is considering all possible measures, including sale, withdrawal and downsizing of the smartphone business.”

LG has confirmed the authenticity of the memo to The Verge. “LG Electronics management is committed to making whatever decision is necessary to resolve its mobile business challenges in 2021,” said an LG spokesperson. “As of today, nothing has been finalized.”

The news comes after Korean site The Elec earlier this month claimed LG was set to announce its departure from the smartphone market. The company’s global communicator for consumer tech, Ken Hong, called the report “completely false and without merit. I won’t even justify that rumor with a statement”.

From the LG G5 and its modular slot, to the dual-screen LG G8X ThinQ and swiveling LG Wing, the company has never been afraid to innovate in an industry where the latest flagships tend to offer few changes over their predecessors. But that innovation hasn’t translated into a healthy bottom line: LG’s smartphone business has posted operating losses for the last 23 consecutive quarters.