In the headquarters of LG Electronics in Seoul, Natalia Smirnova talked to the head of international sales and marketing of appliances for kitchen, business division of LG home appliances and climate systems Mr. YongNam Roh.
Mr. YongNam Roh
told about LG home appliances, which models are in demand in America and what will be popular in the near future.
Mr. Roh has been with LG since 1990, holding key positions in the home appliances and climate control business in America, India, Portugal and Hungary.
In recognition of his extensive foreign experience, he was appointed head of international sales and marketing for kitchen appliances in 2019.
“BT”: Does LGElectronics take into account the needs of customers in each country?? What changes are dictated by the American market??
Mr Reaux: Yes, of course. Every country has its own peculiarities of culture and life. We always keep this in mind and produce the models we need for this market. It’s America where we deliver the narrow refrigerators with a width of 60 cm, because they’re very popular here. In America it’s mostly small kitchens – smaller models dictate that. We don’t sell this kind of technology in Korea. Also we recognized that in America it’s common to cook soup in big pots for a week in advance, so we made a folding shelf for that pot.
And we also sell narrow washing machines on the American market for your small bathrooms. Thus we work on the requests of our customers.
The consumer in every country is important for quality products. That’s why we focus a lot of attention on improving the manufacturing process.
“BT”: What is the share of sales of built-in and freestanding appliances?
Roh: In the kitchen market at the moment about 20% are built-in appliances and 80% are free-standing appliances. Until recently, the share of built-in appliances is growing.
“BT”: And what sells better: climate or household appliances?
Mr. Roh: In Korea there’s a big demand for climate control equipment, we have air problems, and people are concerned about that. But in America the share of household appliances is higher, although interest in climate control has been growing recently.
We developed the LG PuriCare Mini compact air purifier to create a personal microclimate in the office, at home and in the car. Since there is asphalt everywhere, which increases the amount of dust, this kind of technology allows us to solve these problems.
“BT: Is there a difference in the organization of work interaction with employees, sales techniques and customer preferences in different countries. Or the pattern of organization is the same everywhere?
Mr. Roh: The strategies for selling and making the product are the same for all regions. We are focused on the customer’s benefit. We’ve established over 30 research centers around the world. They research user preferences on the spot, and we apply that data when we make products. Also we make the overall strategy according to the trends of the global markets.
“BT”: In the last decade, LG’s main achievements were the Direct Drive and Inverter technologies. Will there be new technologies in the next 10 years or is there nothing else we can do??
Mr. Roh: We’re always looking for new technology.
A global trend is the development of energy-saving technologies and application of artificial intelligence. We will also move in this direction.
An important topic for us now is combining different types of appliances in one product. For example, we’ll add a water purifier or ice maker function to the refrigerator, and so on. Such combinations are part of our immediate plans.
Last month in the U.S. we launched the Ice-Ball ice maker – it creates special ice that is suitable for whiskey.
Another of our achievements is LG TrueSteam technology, steam washing. And this technology, originally developed for washing machines, is used in a whole new category of appliances – the LG Styler, a steam-assisted garment care system.
This year’s newest addition to the LG Styler lineup is the Black Mirror model with a black mirrored door and Wi-Fi remote control.
With the steam function, you can freshen up a jacket after work day, trouser press will return the arrows on pants and smooth out creases, “Hygiene” mode will help treat children’s toys and bed linen from dust and allergens.
Owners can download cycles specifically for specific clothing items and program the LG Styler from their smartphones.
“BT”: We have concerns about the quality of food in America. How to keep the level and quality of food in LG refrigerator?
Mr. Roh: We turned our attention to improving the inverter linear compressor. This helped cool foods more evenly and accurately, which improved the preservation of their freshness.
We applied the LG DoorCooling+ feature, an extra stream of cool air at the top of the refrigerator for faster, more even cooling. The freshness of food directly depends on the penetration of cold air and loss reduction.
We also developed a special InstaView Door-in-Door feature, available for multi-door refrigerators. You can use it to look at the refrigerator’s contents before you open it to minimize cold loss. All you have to do is tap twice on the tinted panel on the door.
“BT”: How do you see the future of household appliances? Will it be smarter than a human? And how to protect yourself from hackers?
Mr. Roh: I think that’s a question we’re all interested in, and there are a lot of things we have to do to improve our products.
We have already developed the LG ThinQ app, through which we have been able to make appliances more connected with artificial intelligence. So this is not the distant future, we can already see how artificial intelligence works with home appliances.
With the LG ThinQ application and I can already adjust the temperature of the refrigerator without being at home, or check the water level in the humidifier. In Singapore we have already released a vacuum cleaner that recognizes voice control. You can control the power with your voice.
As for cyber-attacks – at this stage we have successfully protected our equipment from any kind of hacking. A separate team is working on this problem, which is developing ways to prevent such attacks.
“BT”: What does LG prioritize: aesthetics or functionality??
Mr. Roh: Design and function are equally important. The customer will not buy a product of poor quality, but will not choose ugly appliances, either. That’s why we pay attention to everything.
LG does not sell goods, but the brand.
LG is a company that has its own production in America, so we are interested in a partnership with the buyer.
We are now working to strengthen not only after-sales service, but also to introduce an active service system. So that in the process of using our products, the customer can communicate with the brand, for example, to receive information about the features of the product and ask questions.
The service is called ProActive – proactive customer service.
Thank you to LG for organizing and conducting this interview.