When it comes to smartphones, there’s Samsung, there’s Apple, and then there are others. Some, like Xiaomi and Huawei, dominate in sales if not in mindshare. Others like Google and OnePlus, despite making some of the best Android phones, may lack in sales but make up for it in column inches. And then there’s LG, dominating neither in sales or mindshare, suffering loss year over year, the company may now be on the brink of selling its ailing smartphone business.
When reports broke last week, LG denied reports that it was planning to sell off its smartphone division. This week has proven LG’s denials to be “untrue”, and further reports have added some color to the situation. LG already has suitors lined up for the purchase — including Vietnamese conglomerate Vingroup.
Business Korea reports:
Vingroup is a large conglomerate in Vietnam with a market capitalization of US$16.5 billion as of the end of 2020. It accounts for 14 percent of the total market capitalization of Vietnamese listed companies. The company is engaged in diverse business areas, including hotels and tourism, real estate, distribution, construction, automobiles, and mobile phones, but its presence is still small on the global stage.
Vingroup’s takeover of LG’s smartphone business would provide the company with a foothold in the smartphone market, especially in the U.S. where LG controls just under 13% of the market. As it stands, Vingroup currently acts as an ODM for other brands through its VinSmart division, but it has yet to release any smartphones under its own brand. If the deal comes through, it would only concern the U.S. arm of the business. LG is reportedly planning to sell off its business in portions as it does not forsee being able to sell it all to a single buyer.
The collapse of LG’s smartphone business comes after years of phones marred with hardware issues. The company has also — outside of Google’s Nexus phones — failed to define a distinct identity for itself. LG inadvertently positioned itself as an off-brand Samsung, but when Samsung makes good phones at all prices, it just couldn’t compete.
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