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S. Korea handsets to seize 30% of world market

SEOUL -- South Korea's mobile phone manufacturers are expected to capture 30 percent of the global market for the first time in history this year, brokerage industry data showed Wednesday.

Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics are anticipated to post market shares of 26.4 percent and 3.7 percent, respectively, for a collective 30.1-percent share of handset sales globally, Samsung Securities said in a report.

The brokerage house predicted that the two companies' 2012 sales would reach 440 million and 56 million units, respectively.

After recording 13.5 percent in their collective market share in 2002, Samsung and LG grabbed more than 20 percent of the global market in 2007. Their share came to 26.8 percent in 2011.

Analysts say the two manufacturers' expanding presence in overseas markets was attributable to their continued investment in research and development as well as vertical supply chains.

“Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics are among the companies, in addition to Nokia Corp., that have been sustaining their global sales channel and R&D investment since the late 1990s,” said a Samsung Securities research analyst.

He said a vertical supply chain for smartphone parts has also sharpened the two companies' cost competitiveness.

The securities firm also painted a rosy outlook for the two local handset makers over the next few years.

Samsung and LG are projected to sell 456 million and 65 million mobile phones next year, respectively, which will bring their combined market share to 32.2 percent.

Further, they are expected to claim 33.3 percent of the 1.7 billion unit global market in 2014, according to the report's projection.

Meanwhile, Korean handset makers took the majority of the U.S. market in Long Term Evolution smartphone sales during the third quarter of 2012, Strategy Analytics said.

The three firms — Samsung, LG and Pantech — sold about 5.7 million units out of 10.6 million LTE smartphones sold in U.S. in the third quarter, holding slightly more than 50 percent of U.S. market share.

Specializing in information and technology, the research firm reported that Samsung sold about 4 million smartphones, becoming the largest seller of LTE smartphones sales in the third quarter.

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