South Korea's No. 2 tech giant, LG Electronics Inc., is estimated to have posted a 25 percent gain in its smartphone sales last year from a year earlier, industry sources said Thursday, taking a step closer to claiming the third spot in the global market.
The combined smartphone shipment of LG Electronics is estimated at 59.6 million units for 2014, up from the 47.6 million units posted a year earlier, the sources said. Industry watchers earlier expected its sales would hover around 60 million units last year.
LG entered the smartphone market dominated by its bigger home-grown rival Samsung Electronics Co. in 2009 as a latecomer.
LG shipped 20 million units of smartphones worldwide in 2011 and gradually expanded to 26.3 million units in 2012, data by market tracker Strategy Analytics showed.
Industry watchers said LG's robust sales performance is attributable to the rising popularity of the G lineup, which included the flagship G3, as well as its low-end editions: the G3 Stylus and the G3 Beat.
The company also released its first flip-style smartphone last year that comes with a button that directly connects to South Korea's top free mobile messenger, Kakao Talk, powered by Daum Kakao Corp., in a bid to grab a wider generation of users.
LG Electronics, which took the fourth spot in terms of market share with China-based Huawei Technologies Co., however, also maintained its position in the third quarter of 2014, this time defeated by Xiaomi Inc., another Chinese rival, the Strategy Analytics data also showed.
Industry watchers said the slowed growth of Chinese players expected for 2015, however, will cast a brighter outlook for LG's performance this year.
"As Xiaomi and other Chinese players will see slowed earnings in the first half of this year, LG's smartphone shares and profitability will improve," an industry insider said.
LG is set to commence the sales of the high-end G Flex 2 at home later this month, beginning its full-fledged push to catch up rivals in 2015.
The G Flex 2, featuring a 5.5-inch display that curves inward from top to bottom, is slightly smaller than its 6-inch predecessor. The device was first showcased at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this month. (Yonhap)