ET News revealed that Motorola has broken the news that it will be leaving the South Korean market through an internal memo to employees, with the official pull out to happen in February next year. Until now, Motorola has been selling mobile phones in Korea since 1988. The memo also stated that remaining wages would be paid to the 600 current employees at Motorola Mobility Korea.
The announcement is part of the company’s global restructuring which led to layoffs of approximately 4000 employees and the closing down of most of its international websites less than a month ago. Korea is one of the few places to also have a Motorola Research Center and Design Center and these will also be closing.
The company saw its prime in 2006 with its popular RAZR phone which sold 200 million units worldwide. However, with the introduction of smartphones, Motorola’s share in the market dropped and in May this year, Google purchased Motorola Solutions.
Recently, rival cellphone maker HTC also closed its offices in South Korea as Samsung, Apple and LG phones continue to dominate the market. Motorola is the fourth mobile producer to close offices in Korea within a period of two years, following SK Telesys, KT Tech and HTC.
With Motorola’s departure there is concern about the impact it will have on employees and customers, as well as the sudden increase in unemployed workers. There are reportedly 40,000 handsets still remaining in Korea with operators SK Telecom and KT. It is unclear at this stage if current Motorola users will still be able to receive after-sales service.