LG is a global leader in consumer electronics, home appliances and mobile communications, employing more than 82,000 people around the world. With global sales of US $38.5 bn in 2006, LG is the world’s leading producer of front loading washing machines, DVD players, flat panel TVs and home theatre systems.
Seoul, is a bustling city, with ambitions to become a major mover and shaker on the international scene, especially as a centre for commerce. Its cityscape is dominated by high-rise blocks and motorways, although the city retains a rich history with temples and pleasure gardens. From its headquarters in Seoul, LG is showing an increasing interest in the UK. Nowhere is this more evident, than in the current move of its European design centre from Milan to London.
Research from LG shows that if people do not like the appearance of a fridge, then they will not look at its other features. Teddy Huang, VP and Head of Overseas Sales and Marketing for the Digital Appliances arm of LG, says that the company is “very pleased with the response of overseas markets, to the introduction of washing machines with coloured bodies”. Cliff Shin in the Design Centre says “colours are selected to appeal principally to premium customers and style seekers”. Their blue washing machine sold well in the traditionally conservative white goods market of the US.
A new LG washing machine is to be launched in the UK in spring 2008. It will have a 9kg load capacity and steam cleaning to reduce odours and allergens. LG claims that 99.7% of allergens are eliminated by the steam washer. The drum is driven by a direct drive motor for higher efficiency and reduced noise. It will be available in both black and white finishes.
The Roboking V-R4000 robotic vacuum cleaner won a red dot award in 2006. LG’s designers are developing a more powerful version to clean carpets and hard floors, with the UK market in mind. This functional gadget attracted a lot of attention from visitors to the LG design centre, and looks set to stand out from the range of products in the pipeline from LG.
Things to come
Looking further ahead, LG is planning to introduce its digital smart home system, known as Hom Net, to the UK. This home network can be linked to washing machines, ovens, lights, curtains, air conditioning, heating, door entry locks and cameras in the home or in the public spaces of apartment blocks. All of these can be controlled from a touch screen, from a mobile or any PC via the Internet.
Discussions between UK property developers and LG are under way. This could lead to Hom Net being a potential factor in the choice of digitally controlled appliances by the end 2009.
The UK market is clearly of major importance to LG which also values its geographical location. A further reflection of this is the planned move of the LG European product planning function from Germany to the South East of England.