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New LG Electronics chief likely to get tougher on 8K TV war with Samsung

CES 2020 likely to be second battleground between LG and Samsung

With LG Electronics welcoming a new chief executive officer, the Korean tech giant is likely to get tough on an ongoing dispute over 8K TVs with its archrival Samsung Electronics, according to industry officials Friday.

Kwon Bong-seok, who replaces Jo Seong-jin, the vice chairman of LG Electronics, is the one who made a public denouncement of Samsung’s quantum dot light-emitting diode TV that it is only a sort of LCD TV at a press conference in March.

Kwon taking the leadership of LG Electronics came at a time when the company is locking horns with Samsung over the definition of 8K TV quality. Many industry officials forecast that LG is likely to take even stronger actions against the rival, especially in the 8K TV market.

“A second round of the 8K war seems likely to unfold at CES next year,” said an industry insider.

Kwon who has been leading LG’s home entertainment business since 2015 is known as a successful strategist.

When he first came to head the unit, the TV business reported an operating deficit in the first half of 2015. The HE unit’s sales had declined from 23.9 trillion won in 2011 to 17.4 trillion won in 2015.

Kwon decided to fully focus the unit’s capabilities on the OLED TV business, while ditching unnecessary or money-losing products, such as curved TVs. 
Kwon Bong-seok (LG Electronics)
Kwon Bong-seok (LG Electronics)

At Europe’s largest electronics trade show IFA 2019 in September, LG accused Samsung of misleading and deceiving consumers with its QLED 8K TVs, which have a far lower contrast modulation level than LG’s OLED 8K TVs.

“Samsung is highly likely to come up with an 8K model that has a higher CM level of around 50 percent to meet the US Consumer Technology Association standard,” an industry official said.

The new CEO has also been leading LG’s struggling mobile communications business since early this year.

He has applied the same “select and focus” method to the smartphone business.

Under Kwon, LG shut down its smartphone manufacturing line in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province and relocated necessary facilities and workforces to Vietnam.

Next year, the company plans to increase the proportion of low- and mid-range phones produced by third-party original development manufacturers to nearly 60 percent.

This was also part of Kwon’s strategy to secure price competitiveness of LG phones, while using top talents’ capabilities to develop premium phones.

By Song Su-hyun (