South Korea’s LG Electronics will shut its lossmaking smartphone enterprise after years of struggling to compete in opposition to rivals starting from Apple to low-cost Chinese language upstarts.

The Seoul-based group introduced on Monday that it will formally exit the trade and as a substitute deal with development areas comparable to vehicle components.

LG has misplaced floor in smartphones as the worldwide market has change into extra saturated. It has additionally confronted strain from cheaper Chinese language opponents within the low-to-mid finish section whereas being outmanoeuvred by Apple and native rival Samsung Electronics within the premium a part of the market.

The corporate’s cell phone enterprise has posted cumulative losses of almost $4.5bn over the previous 5 years, with its international market share falling to about 2 per cent, based on analysis supplier Counterpoint. The enterprise reported Won5.2tn ($4.6bn) of gross sales final yr, or 8.2 per cent of LG’s whole revenues.

“We are going to finish manufacturing and gross sales of the cell phone enterprise as a result of its continued stoop amid stiffer competitors,” the corporate mentioned in a regulatory submitting. “We are going to enhance our enterprise portfolio by effectively focusing our assets on core areas.”

The corporate added that its withdrawal from smartphones would enhance its competitiveness and monetary standing in the long run, though the choice might dent short-term gross sales.

LG was a giant participant within the international cell phone market previous to the emergence of feature-laden smartphones, the place it was a latecomer.

Traders had referred to as for the corporate to wind down the smartphone enterprise, arguing that it represented a misallocation of assets that weighed on LG’s inventory market valuation, regardless of strong gross sales of premium house home equipment and televisions.

“Being late is at all times higher than by no means,” mentioned Daniel Kim, an analyst at Macquarie, of LG’s choice to retire from the sector. “It entered the smartphone market too late and couldn’t scale up amid stiff competitors within the saturated market.”

LG’s fortunes within the smartphone market stand in sharp distinction to Korean adversary Samsung, which has surged into pole place globally. LG shipped 23m telephones final yr in contrast with 256m for Samsung, based on Counterpoint.

LG has dropped out of the worldwide prime seven gamers by market share as successive failures of its flagship smartphones have price it floor in opposition to fast-rising Chinese language teams comparable to Huawei, Xiaomi and Oppo.

However it had remained the third-largest smartphone maker in North America and the fifth-largest participant in Latin America by market share.

The corporate is predicted to shift extra of its assets in the direction of the fast-growing electrical automobile elements enterprise, making the most of its ties with associates together with battery chief LG Power Resolution, show maker LG Show and digital camera module provider LG Innotek. The corporate plans to launch a joint venture with automotive provider Magna Worldwide in July to make elements for electrical automobiles.

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