“Europe is comprised of countries that are traditionally strong in the field of home appliances,” he said during a press briefing Saturday.
“But what sets LG apart from these European brands is that we do everything from household electronic devices to smartphones, while they only specialize in home appliances. In the era that we live in, multiplayers like us have an advantage in IoT integration and artificial intelligence.”
|Song Dae-hyun, president of LG Electronics’ home appliance and air solution division, speaks during a press briefing in Berlin on Saturday. (Lim Jeong-yeo/The Korea Herald)|
Homes are no longer just private residences but have transformed into places for social activities, Song said.
To enable better connectivity, LG Electronics has equipped all of its home appliances with wireless internet since 2017, expanding the infrastructure for an AI-powered smart home. Apart from its original ThinQ AI platform, LG appliances support Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa and Naver’s Clova.
More recently, LG has forged a strategic alliance with Lumi United Technologies, a global player in smart sensors and devices.
Asked about the extent to which LG’s appliances use Japanese components and if LG would be open to using Samsung-made components, Song replied that LG’s home appliance sector does not source much from Japan, and that if necessary, LG would not turn away from using Samsung’s materials just because it is a rival.
South Korea’s major tech firms, particularly those in the semiconductor industry, have been preparing countermeasures in response to Japan’s decision to take the country off its list of trusted trading partners.
Meanwhile, Song highlighted the home appliance and air solution division’s contribution to boosting the firm’s double-digit growth in 2019 so far.
LG Electronics’ home appliance and air solution business recorded over 699 billion won ($585 million) in revenue in Europe in the first half of the year, up about 17 percent on-year.
Song also expressed confidence over rising competition from rivals, such as German premium home appliance brand Miele, which has entered the Korean market, as well as smaller domestic companies like Coway that have begun introducing a wider range of home appliances.
“Whenever more players enter a market, the pie grows bigger,” Song said, “While this may result in the fall of our market share due as many more players are fighting for space in the same field -- the total pie size is growing.”
IFA 2019 features some 100 Korean companies and is taking place from Sept. 6 to 11 at Messe Berlin in Germany. Initiated as an event to showcase radio technology, IFA has grown over the past 59 years into an annual home appliance tech trade show that is the biggest of its kind in Europe.
By Lim Jeong-yeo (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Korea Herald correspondent