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LG said to launch 25 3G phones in China

LG Electronics Inc, the world's No. 3 phone maker, will launch 25 new 3G phones in China this year, including models with high-speed Internet access, touch screens and QWERTY keyboards.

The new models are expected to help the Republic of Korea-based LG to expand its market share in the world's No. 1 mobile phone market, analysts said.

In 2009, LG aims to launch a total of 60 new phones in China. More than 40 percent are 3G-enabled. The 3G phones will have touch screens, 3-inch or larger displays and 5-megapixel or 8-megapixel cameras, the company said.

"The demand for high-end smart phones won't be greatly influenced by the (financial) crisis in China, especially in the 3G era," said Sandy Shen, a Shanghai-based analyst at Gartner Inc, a US-based IT consulting firm.

Worldwide handset sales will decrease about 10 percent but smart-phone sales will continue to grow, according to Gartner.

Apple and Acer will also launch in the domestic smart phone market. Apple is negotiating with China Unicom on the debut of the 3G iPhone in China.

China issued 3G licenses to three domestic carriers in January: China Telecom, China Mobile and China Unicom.

LG will invest 1 billion yuan (US$146.3 million) in China this year to expand handset distribution channels and promotion, the company said last month.

LG surpassed Sony Ericsson and Motorola in global sales when it sold more than 100 million mobile phones in 2008, but trails market leaders Nokia and Samsung.

In China, LG is the eighth-best seller, with only 2 percent of the market, said CCID Consulting, a research firm.



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