* LG launches 3D TVs in Korea, global launch planned by May
* Sold around 5.2 mln LCD TVs in Q1 vs 25 mln target for 2010
* Shares up 6 pct in heavy trade vs 0.3 pct rise in KOSPI
SEOUL, March 25 (Reuters) - LG Electronics, the world’s No.2 TV brand, said on Thursday it was aiming to sell nearly 1 million 3D TVs this year to take one-fourth of the market, joining a growing number of global tech firms betting 3D will become the next hot product.
Many manufacturers hope the technology will be as big a boost for the industry as the transition to colour TVs from black and white, although a lack of 3D content and the need for special glasses may keep people from adopting the technology outside the cinema.
South Korea’s LG Electronics (066570.KS) said on Thursday it wanted to increase market share in 3D TVs more aggressively, hoping to keep its lead over close rival Sony and fight falling prices with premium models.
“Our goal is boosting market share in 3D TVs and you can clearly see that, as our target for 3D market share is 10 percentage points above our LCD TV sales target,” Havis Kwon, LG’s vice president and head of the LCD division told reporters.
LG, which competes with local rival Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (005930.KS) and Japan’s Sony Corp (6758.T), said it expected the global 3D TV market to grow to around 3.8 million units this year and to more than 13 million in 2011.
The maker of the Infinia TV brand showcased 3D TVs with LED-backlit LCD screens that are 22.3 millimeters thick and said its 47-inch LX9500 model would cost around 4.7 million won ($4,134) including two pairs of glasses.
The product will go on sale next week in South Korea ahead of a global launch around May.
At 0535 GMT, shares in LG Electronics jumped 6 percent to a one-month high of 115,500 won, with trading volume rising to almost three times the average 30 day volume.
“Shares have really been beaten down lately amid concerns about its smart phone performance, and on new worries that its strong television business may face a slowdown in the second half, after the World Cup,” said Kim Kap-ho, analyst at LIG Investment & Securities.
“But as its sector peers have rallied in recent weeks, LG Electronics shares at the current level offer attractive valuations.”
LG, which wants to increase its global market share in LCD TVs to 15 percent this year from 11 percent last year, said it sold around 5.2 million LCD sets in the first quarter versus a 2010 target of 25 million sets.
Reporting by Miyoung Kim; Additional reporting by Jungyoun Park; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner