SEOUL (Reuters) - LG Electronics Inc said on Thursday pre-orders for its 55-inch next-generation televisions costing over $10,000 have topped 100, and the firm will start selling the TVs on Monday in South Korea as it tries to steal a march on rivals.
Aiming to outdo competitor Samsung Electronics Co and burnish its reputation for TV technology, the world's No.2 TV manufacturer started taking pre-orders for organic light-emitting diode (OLED) TVs some six weeks ago.
Tipped as the technology most likely to replace liquid-crystal display (LCD) TVs, LG's OLED model costs up to five times more than LCD equivalents due to flat-screen production challenges.
Samsung has yet to announce when it will start production of OLED TVs.
Given the high price, the new technology is unlikely to sharply boost profit margins, but LG hopes an early move to OLED will help it revive its sinking profitability at a time when Japanese rivals are benefiting from a weakening yen.
December-quarter profits in LG's TV division tumbled to around one tenth of year-earlier levels, as it bumped up promotional spending in the year-end holiday season.
LG said it was aiming to raise flat-panel TV shipments by 15 percent this year.
OLED technology is more energy-efficient and offers higher contrast images than LCD, and is so thin that future mobile devices will be foldable like paper.
OLED displays are already used on Samsung's popular Galaxy S and Note smartphones, but panel makers have yet to address manufacturing challenges to lower costs to compete against LCD panels, particularly for large screens for televisions and computer monitors.
(Reporting by Miyoung Kim; Editing by Richard Pullin)