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LG mobile ups market share

South Korean electronics conglomerate LG saw its share of the Cambodian mobile-phone market moe than double over the first six months of 2010, despite concerns that some stores may be illegally cashing in on its corporate brand.

LG planned to open its first Cambodian service centre by the end of August, as its mobile-phone market share increased from 4 percent in January to 10 percent in July, LG Electronics Thailand managing director Lee Hyun-woo said last week.

As overseer of LG’s Cambodian operations, he said the firm looked to increasingly target the needs of Cambodia’s electronics consumers.
He said the company distributed its mobile handsets through Cambodian firm iOne.

“LG is not ready to take on Cambodia alone,” he said.

Market research from GfK showed the Kingdom’s vendors sold US$5 million worth of mobile phones a month, LG spokeswoman Natthaphorm Chaiwong said at a product launch held at Naga-World on Thursday.

Sales of high-end phones in Cambodia were increasing at a rapid rate, with market research showing a 240 percent increase in touch phones, a 270 percent increase in dual SIM handsets, and an overall 50 percent increase in smart phones over the first six months of the year.

LG plans to release three new high-end models, the LG Optimus, the LG Mini and the GX500, through iOne to the Kingdom’s consumers this week.

iOne was the lone Cambodian firm licensed to sell LG mobiles with official warranties in the Kingdom, although LG handsets were available from several unofficial distributors, iOne Marketing Manager Houv Boram said

LG also faces a problem common to many firms doing business in the Kingdom – domestic companies are using its trademark without
permission.

One shop in particular made liberal use of the LG logo to advertise its shop, despite not having LG’s permission, according to its supply chain general manager Moon Sung-ho.

He likened using LG’s trademark without permission to “a kind of illegal action”, but said that the company intended to resolve the problem “peacefully”.

“We gave that shop just a warning letter,” he said on Friday. “We didn’t ask the Cambodian government to shut [it] down.”

Though LG Thailand had not given permission to the Cambodian shop to use its trademark, LG’s Seoul-based officials did not return a request for comment on whether the Phnom Penh store in question had been granted permission from a separate LG wing to operate with the trademark.

Meanwhile, expanding domestic mobile-phone sales have recently attracted increased presence from international manufacturers of handsets.

Finnish manufacturer Nokia launched its first Cambodian office last month in a bid to “bring it closer” to people here, its Indochina general manager William Hamilton-Whyte said.

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