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South Korean Appliance Firms to Establish Branches in Iraq
Sep 22, 2003
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South Korean electronics companies like LG Electronics (LGE) and Samsung Electronics are pushing to establish branch offices in Iraq, industry sources said.

LGE said it will soon inaugurate a task force to establish a sales branch office in Baghdad in a bid to expand its market base in the Middle East.

"LGE is scheduled to launch a special Iraq task force, as soon as security jitters, aggravated by frequent arms clashes between U.S. forces and Iraqis, dissipate in Iraq," said a company spokesman.

LGE, which runs a branch office in Dubai of the United Arab Emirates, is also considering another branch in Kuwait, the spokesman revealed.

"LGE's Baghdad office would be staffed by two to three Koreans and a number of Iraqi employees. It plans to concentrate on sales of PDP televisions and system air-conditioners, which have shown robust growth in the wake of the termination of the Iraq war," the spokesman said. LGE, he said, believes its PDP TV sales will soar 180 percent in the Middle East this year.

Samsung Electronics, meanwhile, is pushing to set up its first Iraqi branch office in Baghdad. Unlike LGE, however, Samsung is planning to staff its Baghdad office only with Iraqi personnel, in consideration of the war-torn country's political and economic situation.

"Iraq has a large population as well as an abundant reserve of quality petroleum and an underdeveloped infrastructure, brightening the long-term outlook for its consumer goods market," said a Samsung official. "Depending on the sales performance, the company will eventually dispatch Korean personnel to the Baghdad branch."
At present, the Middle East accounts for 4 percent of Samsung Electronics' exports, with Iraq emerging as a hot market for its color TVs, air-conditioners, washing machines, and mobile phones.

Daewoo Electronics is also said to be considering setting up its own branch operations in Iraq, according to company officials. (Yonhap, Asia Pulse)

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