+ A

New LG ThinQ phone won’t be made in Korea

Dual screen device will be first high-end model assembled in Vietnam
Aug 15,2019
LG Electronics’ next dual-screen smartphone will be the company’s first high-end phone made at its Vietnamese factory.

The new phone will reportedly be called the V50S ThinQ - the sequel to the V50 ThinQ that was released in May and proved popular in the Korean market.

The V50S will be unveiled at IFA 2019, scheduled to begin on Sept. 6 in Berlin.

Most V50S models will be assembled in Vietnam, according to industry sources.

Procedures to move production facilities from LG’s smartphone factory in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi, to Vietnam will be finalized next month. After that, LG’s high-end phone “G” and “V” series will be manufactured in Vietnam.

“The V50S is our take on the smartphone market for the year’s second half - mass production in Vietnam will increase competitiveness in terms of costs,” said an LG Electronics source.

LG’s Hai Phong factory in Vietnam has a production capacity of six million units per year. After the expansion, this figure will be expanded to 11 million per year. The Vietnam factory was previously the production base for low- and mid-priced smartphones, but once the equipment in Pyeongtaek is moved, it will have LG’s latest production facilities. The company also has plants in Brazil, China and India.

LG expects the Pyeongtaek factory’s relocation to Vietnam to cut down production costs by 50 to 100 billion won a year - thanks to lower labor costs and tax benefits from the Vietnamese government. LG is not the only one making phones in Vietnam. Samsung Electronics also has facilities there that roughly make half of its smartphones. The budget Galaxy A90 is produced exclusively in Vietnam.

With a few weeks left until the V50S is unveiled, leaks and rumors are starting to circulate online. One image reported by GSM Arena on Monday showed a camera notch cut smaller than a drop of water in the phone’s display. The precedent V50 ThinQ had a wider notch. The 3.5 millimeter (0.14 inch) headphone jack, which Samsung Electronics ditched in its recent release, the Galaxy Note10, is still alive.

The news that the V50S would be called the V50S came out on Tuesday in both foreign and local media reports. Using the letter S to denote the updated version of an existing phone is a technique that Apple has used multiple times with models like the iPhone 6S and iPhone XS.

Reportedly, the V50S will be sold under a different name overseas: the G8X. This is because the version sold overseas will support LTE only, while in Korea it will be a 5G phone. LG refused to confirm either name.

LG Electronics’ President Kwon Bong-suk of the mobile and television businesses told reporters earlier this year that LG’s high-end line up will be divided between the V series for 5G phones and G series for 4G LTE phones.

The V50S ThinQ will be LG’s second dual-screen phone, available with a second screen as an optional accessory. The two can combine to be a dual-screen phone that has two separate screens opening like a book. Apart from the phone, the attachable screen will be upgraded as well. The new release will have to compete with Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy Fold and Huawei’s Mate X. Both will come with one folding screen and are expected to be released in September.

Despite the V50’s relative success compared to LG’s previous high-end phones, its mobile communications division raised poor results in the second quarter of 322 billion won in operating losses. The company explained in a conference call that marketing costs for high-end phones and relocation costs to Vietnam had pulled down productivity.

BY KIM YOUNG-MIN AND SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]