SEOUL: LG, the electronics company, plans to open as many as 600 stores this year in India, the Middle East and Africa, as it targets emerging markets and tries to boost its share of the smartphone category.

LG, which already has 3,000 overseas stores, indicated that these new outlets would also sell its television sets and home appliances.

Kim Ki-wan, an executive vice president at the Korean company, said it would also boost the marketing support behind its smartphones, an activity that would be supported by its retail expansion.

LG came late to the smartphone market, but has ambitious targets for its new Optimus G device, aiming to increase sales by 50% this year.

"Mobile phones now play a decisive role in shaping the company's brand," said Kim. "We finally started making products last year that are competitive enough and in some ways are better than others."

Analysts, however, were cautious. "The increased marketing spending should have some benefit for LG Electronics' smartphone market share, especially in the mid-to-high end," Mark Newman, of Sanford C Bernstein, told the Wall Street Journal. "It will be tough to compete with Samsung and Apple," he added.

Samsung recently announced its own expansion in the retail sector as part of its ongoing battle with Apple. It is linking up with Best Buy, the electronics retailer, to open Samsung Experience Shops in 1,400 Best Buy stores across the US.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal, Forbes; additional content by Warc staff