LG Electronics Inc. said Tuesday it has started producing handsets in Iran with a local partner.
Production started this month, and the facility can make 1 million phones a year, LG spokeswoman Judy Pae said. Pae said she could not identify the Iranian partner or provide other details of the production arrangement or even the facility's location in Iran.
Maadiran Group, which describes itself as Iran's leading technology and office automation company, said on its Web site in a Feb. 17 press release that it began producing five models of handsets under license from LG Electronics, the world's fifth-largest manufacturer of mobile phones.
Iran's Minister of Industries and Mines Alireza Tahmasebi attended a ceremony marking the start of the phone production, the release said.
Pae said LG wants to be more competitive in the Middle East market, and the company plans to export the handsets to other countries in the region. In addition, by manufacturing in Iran, LG can avoid Iran's steep tax on imported handsets.
LG Electronics, South Korea's leading home appliance producer, manufactures an array of products including air conditioners, refrigerators, and flat-screen televisions. The company has subsidiaries in Morocco, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt. It also makes air conditioners in Turkey and TV tuners and components in Egypt.
Middle East sales accounted for about 3 percent of LG Electronics' global revenues of $38.6 billion in 2006.