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Mon 3 Feb 2003 04:00 AM

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LG claims market leadership

LG Middle East & Africa reports US $1.15 billion in 2002 turnover, declaring itself '#1 Electronics Company in Middle East & Africa.’

LG today (Feb 3) declared itself ‘#1 Electronics Company in Middle East & Africa’ as it announced year 2002 turnover of US $1.15 billion in the region. Iran led the way with US $253 million in sales revenue, followed by the UAE ($155 million) and Saudi Arabia ($149 million.)

“The really great news is that we are now undoubtedly the region’s leading consumer electronic supplier, a claim we make after studying the product breakdown of our competitors’ performances,” said M B Shin, president, LG Electronic Middle East & Africa (MEA.)

LG claims to have taken the number one selling position in five categories in 2002: televisions, split AC systems, monitors, optical storage drives and plasma display panels. The company remains a laggard in the mobile phone sector, which it only recently entered, but hopes to sell 1.5 million units in the MEA region in 2003.

Shin attributed the 21% year on year growth in MEA sales revenue to vigorous marketing activity, including a large investment in sports sponsorship, and a decision to move away from the OEM business in order to focus more on the LG brand. 90% of last year’s MEA sales were of LG branded products.

LG Middle East & Africa has set itself a sales target of US $1.387 billion for 2003 and a long term target of US $2.5 billion in 2005. That target, Shin admitted, “is extremely ambitious, but we're confident we can achieve it."

Looking forward to 2003, Shin promised more investment in sales and service infrastructure in ‘rural areas’, and the introduction of at least eight mobile phones and 17 monitors. Egypt, where sales were a relatively modest $35 million in 2002, was earmarked as a key target market for coming years.

Samsung might well have something to say about LG’s assertion that it is ‘#1 Electronics Company in Middle East & Africa.’ In late December, B W Lee, Samsung’s regional vice president, predicted that the company was on track to turn over $1.4 billion in the Middle East & Africa in 2002. A formal announcement is expected soon.

Whoever really is number one, what can’t be disputed is the enormous influence that these two Korean companies now have on the consumer electronics business.

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