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LG to widen gap with rivals with 'innovative ideas,' says TV chief

By Jo He-rim

Published : Sept. 3, 2023 - 16:02

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Baek Sun-pil, head of TV products planning at LG Electronics, speaks at a press conference Saturday held on the sidelines of this year's IFA, one of the world's largest consumer appliance trade shows, running for five days beginning Friday. Baek Sun-pil, head of TV products planning at LG Electronics, speaks at a press conference Saturday held on the sidelines of this year's IFA, one of the world's largest consumer appliance trade shows, running for five days beginning Friday.

BERLIN -- LG Electronics will sharpen internal competence and come up with innovative ideas to widen the gap with Chinese rivals in addition to fostering technological prowess, the head of the tech giant's TV business said Saturday.

"It is important to lead the market with new ideas (in the TV industry). You have to break away from the competition with panels, where anyone can make the same product as you when they have the display panel," Baek Sun-pil, head of TV products planning at LG Electronics said at a press conference Saturday, held on the sidelines of this year's IFA, one of the world's largest consumer appliance trade shows, running for five days from Friday.

Chinese TV makers hold dominance in LCD TVs because they have strong display panel makers. But LG has ideas, Baek said.

"You can sell a 27-inch screen display at 200,000 won ($152) when you make a computer monitor with it. When you build a 27-inch portable TV, standing on a stand or designed as a briefcase, you sell it at 1 million won," the official said.

At this year's IFA, LG brought its LG StandbyME Go, a 27-inch touch-screen TV designed to resemble a briefcase, to introduce to the European market for the first time. The company launched the portable TV, in Europe this month.

LG also exhibited the 97-inch LG Signature OLED M TV, which it launched in Europe this month. Introducing the world's first wireless organic light-emitting diode TV is also an example of LG offering more convenient options to attract customers.

As Chinese TV companies are closely chasing in the market with big sales volume, Baek noted a meaningful portion of their shipments come from the domestic market.

"One thing to be aware of is that a meaningful portion of shipments of the Chinese companies come from the domestic market. Hisense boasts high volume of shipments, but 30 percent of it is for the China market. TCL also relies 25 percent of its shipments on the domestic market," Baek said.

It is also important to look at revenue, more so than the sales volume. When Chinese companies sell 75-inch LCD TVs at a price of 3 million won, they will have to sell more to match the revenue of LG selling one 97-inch OLED TV at the price of 30 million, Baek explained.

The TV expert also said Chinese TV makers have not yet achieved the top level of detail in resolution tuning skills and there remains a large gap between Korean and Chinese TV manufacturers.

On how TV manufacturers around the world are seen competitively rolling out bigger displays, Baek said consumer preference for bigger screens is evident, but that the major market will form below the 100-inch mark.

"From what I heard, the super-large-screen TVs Chinese companies release, like TCL's 115-inch TV, are largely for the Chinese consumers who want them in their vacation homes," Baek said.

"But in the global market, Korean companies hold the grip on large-screen TVs. I believe the major market for them will be formed under the 100-inch mark."

On microLED TVs, deemed as the next technology in the TV industry, Baek delivered his personal assessment that it will take over five years to be commercialized, due to the expensive price.

"MicroLED TVs are expensive, and even the cheaper Chinese models cost some 140 million won," Baek said. "We already tried selling rollable display TVs costing 100 million won, and it did not work out so well. In the TV market, it is hard to create demand for products going over 10 million won."