Motorola Mobility to Quit South Korea in 2013

Following HTC, Motorola Mobility is the next big mobile handset maker to quit the South Korean market, leaving giants Samsung, LG, Apple, and smaller local players such as Kyocera to battle it out. The move is part of a larger restructuring plan set in motion by parent company Google, that could cull over 4,000 jobs worldwide. The South Korean restructuring adds over 500 to that toll.

Motorola Mobility will retain about 10 percent of its South Korean workforce related to R&D, who will be offered relocation packages to stay within the company. Two business units will stay active in Korea, however, the company will cease to sell or market mobile handsets in the country.

In a statement released to The Next Web, the company said:

On December 10th, we began communicating to staff in Korea our plans to close most of our operations in Korea, including our research and development and consumer mobile device marketing organization. The changes in Korea reflect our plans to consolidate our global R&D efforts to foster collaboration, and to focus more attention on markets where we are best positioned to compete effectively.

Our Home business and iDEN go-to-market operations will continue operating in Korea. We will also continue to provide customer service and warranty support for mobile devices that have been sold in Korea.

This was a difficult but necessary decision. We are very proud of the work done by our talented teams in Korea, and the many contributions they have made to our business over the years. We will offer relocation to about 10 percent of our R&D staff there. For other employees we will strive to make the transition as smooth as possible.

We are grateful for the support of our customers in Korea.

Related to the exact number of jobs affected, a company spokesperson stated:

We're not releasing numbers or any further specifics at this time, but the 10 percent refers to R&D staff, which is the majority of staff, though not all.