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Wednesday, October 18, 2006
LG Unveils New Mobile Phone to Succeed "Chocolate"

LG on Wednesday unveiled a new handset model aimed at repeating the success of its premium "Chocolate" phone and building market share.

"The new version of the Chocolate phone follows the current consumer preference for (slim) metal casings. It's a global market trend," said SR Kwon, an analyst at Hyundai Securities.

LG's mobile phone business, trailing Nokia , Motorola Inc. and Samsung Electronics , is on the rebound after seeing its market share ravaged by blockbuster models such as RAZR and Walkman music phones.

The company said on Tuesday it sold 16.5 million mobile phones in the third quarter, up from 15.3 million in the second, with margins in handset also swinging back into the black.

Leading the recovery is "Chocolate," which sells nearly twice as many as LG's other handsets. LG expects to sell more than 6 million "Chocolate" phones this year, after launching the model in Europe in May and in the United States in August.

Staying with LG, the company could consider lower-end models and outsourcing the production of some handsets, the chief of its mobile phone unit said on Wednesday.

"Competition will be very fierce next year," Park Mun-hwa, chief executive of LG's cellphone business. "We can use various strategies. In the process, lower-cost models or contract manufacturing could be considered.

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