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LG Electronics forecast to ship over 50 mln smartphones this year
SEOUL, April 30 (Yonhap) -- South Korean consumer electronics giant LG Electronics Inc. is expected to sell more than 50 million smartphones this year on the back of strong demand for its flagship Optimus G line-up and mid and low-end smartphones, brokerage houses said Tuesday.

   LG Electronics, the world's No. 3 smartphone maker, sold some 26.3 million smartphones last year.

   Korea Investment & Securities said in a report that LG Electronics is expected to sell 53.29 million smartphones this year. Hyundai Securities and KB Investment & Securities put their estimates for LG's smartphone shipments at 50.3 million and 52.3 million, respectively.

   Their estimates on LG's smartphone shipments also compare with LG's own forecast of 40 million made in February.

   Korea Investment, in particular, projected the Optimus G Pro, LG's premium smartphone, would sell more than 1 million units in every quarter of the year.

   Hyundai Securities also said LG's brand awareness is now buoyed by its various smartphone line-ups, and its sales of mid and low-end smartphones are also getting a boost in the global market.

   According to data compiled by research firm Strategic Analysis Inc., LG Electronics ranked third in the world in terms of smartphone shipments for the first time on the back of strong demand for its flagship Optimus G line-up.

   LG Electronics sold a total of 10.3 million smartphones in the first quarter, doubling from 4.9 million units a year earlier, with its market share standing at 4.9 percent, the data showed.

   LG, a latecomer to the smartphone sector compared with bigger rivals Samsung Electronics Co. and Apple Inc., has been struggling to reclaim its mobile foothold.

   But its efforts seem to be paying off. Its mobile communications business logged an operating income of 133 billion won in the first quarter, after it posted an operating income in the previous quarter for the first time in three years.

   The unit, which covers handset sales, had been in the red for the past years due to increased marketing costs and growing competition from low-end handset makers.

   sam@yna.co.kr
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