LG ready to enter Japan full force

by Kazuaki Nagata

LG Electronics Inc. announced Monday it is entering the Japanese TV market and unveiled 10 flat-panel models going on sale in November.

Entry by South Korea-based LG, one of the world’s leading TV makers, will increase the already heated domestic market dominated by Japanese makers.

“Japan is an attractive market where (makers) can sell the world’s top premium products. But Japanese consumers are the most discerning in the world, so it has been difficult to enter,” LG Japan President Lee Kyu Hong said.

“As we aim to become the global top maker, we’ve decided to break into the Japanese market, which is strategically important. With our achievements in the global market and thorough research on the Japanese market, we created products that reflect local needs,” Lee told a news conference in Tokyo.

Aiming for a 5 percent share of the domestic market in five years, LG will be selling the TVs under its Infinia brand. The TVs will come in five series.

The TVs, all of which are LED-backlit, range from 22 inches to 55 inches in size. Their prices are expected to range from ¥80,000 to ¥480,000.

The 3-D-ready high-end LX9500 series has a “TruMotion 480Hz” function that enables a display of 480 images per second, tops in the world when it comes to LCD TVs, LG said.

The company sold small TVs in the Japanese market several years ago in response to demands by electronics stores, but it withdrew in 2008.

Bae Hyung Ki, head of LG Japan’s sales and marketing, said now is a great time to enter the Japanese market at full bore because the company has gained a global reputation in recent years and has completed thorough research on the Japanese market.

Also, Japan is in the midst of switching from analog to digital broadcasts.

According to U.S.-based DisplaySearch, LG had a 13.2 percent revenue share in the world’s TV market in 2009, making it the second-biggest after Samsung Electronics.

Asked if LG is confident about competing with Japanese makers on their home turf, Lee said he hopes to energize the market rather than compete with them.