LG Electronics will begin selling Apple products like iPhones at its South Korean stores, an LG spokesperson confirmed on Wednesday.
The South Korean electronics maker was initially met with resistance from local phone distributors over the plan, which considered it to be a violation of an agreement that prevented anti-competitive behaviour from LG and Samsung. Back in 2018, the two South Korean tech firms agreed to only sell their own respective phone brands at their own stores in order to avoid competing with smaller phone distributors.
But the association representing the smaller distributors said it has signed a renewed contract with LG that now allows the South Korean electronics maker to sell phones from other brands.
LG is expected to start selling iPhones at some of its stores in August. The company is also expected to sell other products made by Apple, such as the Apple Watch, among other gadgets.
LG currently has some 400 stores in the country. These stores had sold LG smartphones until the company announced it would exit from the smartphone business earlier this year. The exit from the mobile business is expected to be completed by the end of this month.
The boon is expected to boost Apple while creating a challenge for Samsung, especially since the pair have been aggressively promoting their smartphones in South Korea to fill the vacuum left by LG’s exit.
In May, Apple and Samsung, in collaboration with local telcos, began offering programs to pay LG smartphone users to turn in their used phones and replace them with either a Galaxy smartphone or iPhone. The amount offered by the two companies were the trade-in value of phones and an additional 150,000 won, or approximately $135.
According to market research firm Counterpoint, Samsung held 65% market share in South Korea’s smartphones market last year, while Apple held 20% market share, and LG controlled 13%.