CES 2020: LG CEO says mobile business will turnaround in 2021

Its OLED TV that can roll upwards will also be launched no later than the third quarter of 2020, LG Electronics CEO says.

LG Electronics aims to turn its mobile business back to profitability in 2021, its CEO has said.

"Considering the competence of the products and change in line-up that we are preparing, as well as new products that will change the premium landscape, we think we can pull off a turnaround in 2021," said company CEO Brian Kwon, who was named to the top job in last year's reshuffle, at CES 2020 in Las Vegas.

The South Korean electronics company's mobile business has been in the red since the second quarter of 2015.

A day earlier, LG announced that it posted around 99 billion won in operating profits and 16 trillion won in sales for the fourth quarter of 2019. The company is yet to announce its full fiscal report but mobile is likely to be in the red again -- marking its 19th consecutive quarterly loss for the business.

Since the previous quarter, LG has shifted production to Vietnam from South Korea and is also looking to outsource some of its smartphone production to reduce costs. 

In regards to when the company will launch a foldable phone, Kwon did not provide a timeline but said the company wants to launch a "premium, innovative product," even if it takes more time than competitors.

On the TV front, its 65-inch rollable OLED TV that rolls out from the base, first shown off as a display panel in 2018 and as a complete set in 2019, will go on sale no later than the third quarter of 2020, its CEO said.

The TV was initially set go on sale in 2019, but Kwon said: "OLED panel supply was tight compared to demand last year. The rollable TV is also a high-priced product so we wanted to secure reliability before putting it on sale."

A launch date for the newer OLED panel that can roll down from the ceiling, which was shown for the first time in this year's CES, has not been decided however, LG company executives said. LG's TV boss Park Hyung-se, who was also at the conference, said a screen rolling down is a different technology from screens that roll upwards. LG wants to keep testing the technology more before announcing any updates, Park said.