A small session with Edward Kim, managing director of LG Bangladesh would give you a hint about why he is given the charge of representing a brand that has the tagline – ‘Life is Good’.
This convivial Korean will patiently answer all of your questions, no matter how many you have asked, and he does that with a smile.
Weekend Tribune recently went to his office and talked about LG’s operations in Bangladesh.
Before you took charge of the operations of LG in Bangladesh, where else did you work?
Bangladesh is my third overseas assignment from LG. Before, I worked in LG’s Thailand and Singapore operation.
What is your impression about the electronic market of Bangladesh?
The first impression that I had while working here is that the electronic applications market has a lot of potential. Every morning when I take a look in the newspaper, I can see many initiatives taken here in Bangladesh and this opens up and increases people’s need for electronic appliances. I believe that the Bangladeshi market can achieve recognition like that of the Indian market within a few years.
There are a lot of electronic brands today in Bangladesh, so why will people be interested to buy your product?
We have already become one of the most trustworthy brands across the world. In Bangladesh, it is no different. When people see the brand name of LG, they feel a sense of trust here. This is because we provide a warranty of 10 years for our products.
We have also customised some of our products for the Bangladeshi market. One such product is the mosquito-repelling air conditioning system. In Bangladesh, mosquitoes are a big problem and our air-conditioners will make homes mosquito-free. The air-conditioner can generate inaudible ultrasonic waves at a specific frequency of over 30kHz that repels mosquitoes.
Who do you consider your fiercest competitor in the market?
I will give you the answer in a different manner. Basically there are two types of competitors. The collaborating brands and another one is the local manufacturers. Among all the collaborating brands, I consider LG to be number one in the field of electronics here in Bangladesh.
Among the local brands, you have Walton, Singer and some other newcomers. Although globally we are in the number one position, yet we have to compete against local brands in the local market. In Bangladesh, the local brands are mostly targeting low and medium segments. However they are increasingly targeting the high segments as well.
Some might think that LG is a global brand and therefore they are selling the most expensive products. Yes, we target the high segments but that does not mean we simply focus on premium customers. Our prices are competitive and I think a large number of customers who want quality, long lasting products are opting to buying our products.
When I think about LG, I think about its refrigerators, TVs and air conditioners. But you also have other products like smartphones and laptops which are not that popular in our country. So are you taking any initiatives to make these products popular?
Yes, we have other products like laptops, water purifiers, air cleaners, etc, and their demands are increasing in an emerging market like Bangladesh. We plan to do more promotions about those product lines. About our smartphones, I can say that entering into the smartphone market will not be easy because of the huge competition prevailing there. But this year onwards, we have big plans for increasing our smartphone market share.
Many Chinese electronic products are sold here at cheap prices and people do have the idea that electronic products won’t last long or new models will arrive so there is no point of buying a high-end product from LG or other brands instead of the cheaper Chinese products. How do you deal with that sort of mindset?
People might like buying cheap products but the question is whether they are getting any long term satisfaction by using those products. I don’t think so. For example, a laptop company told me to use their product which weighs around 99gm. It was very expensive but since I am visiting abroad quite a lot, I took it despite the high price and I am completely happy about it. So as long as I can satisfy customers and serve their needs, I think I will not lose my segment of customers.
Also as I told you earlier, the customers who want quality products, will know the difference between cheap Chinese products and those from LG.
LG has a partnership with JAAGO foundation. Why? What sort of activities it is doing with JAAGO?
LG is based on the idea “Think globally and act locally”. To facilitate ICT education for underprivileged children, LG Electronics Bangladesh and JAAGO Foundation have jointly established LG IT Academy, where underprivileged children are given quality education through the usage of technology that they would otherwise have no access to.