According to the Korean publication TheElec, the company produced more than 300 million smartphones last year. It did not reach that number a year ago, as reports suggest. Despite the chip shortage and the global health crisis, as well as growing pressure from Chinese rivals, Samsung will produce more smartphones in 2021 than in 2020.
Although Samsung did not make those 300 million phones itself. It has outsourced production of nearly 60 million units to Chinese companies such as WingTech and Huaquin. The company does this for its budget equipment. The remaining 240 million units were produced internally.
While 300 million is a huge number, Samsung’s flagship series for 2021 – the Galaxy S21 – did not do well in the market in particular. The Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21+ and Galaxy S21 Ultra together sold 20 million-odd units. The company sold over 35 million flagship phones a few years ago.
Fortunately, the low-cost Galaxy A, Galaxy M and Galaxy F series phones worked well in achieving balance. Samsung also has a great 2021 in the foldable market, with the new Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3 selling well worldwide.
Financially, the company reported the highest quarterly revenue in the third quarter of this year. It now expects sales revenue of more than $278 trillion (approximately $234 billion) for the full year and operating profit of more than $51 trillion ($43 billion), a huge increase from 2020 onwards.
Samsung aims to sell more than 350 million smartphones this year. The company expects the upcoming Galaxy S22 series to have similar demand with its flagship phone a few years ago.
It is looking to expand its foldable footprint and increase sales of low-cost models, including ODM (Original Design Manufacturer) equipment. The Korean brand has already outsourced the production of nearly 40 million devices to WingTech.
Samsung Display requires Apple’s order to expand to 8.5 IT OLED panel production
Apple was reportedly worked with Samsung on the tablet’s OLED panel. That came as no surprise as Samsung is a leading provider of OLED displays. However, there seems to have been a change in strategy.
However, Apple and Samsung Display have canceled their joint project to make a 10.86-inch OLED iPad. The tablet was originally scheduled for launch in 2022 and would be Cupertino’s first iPad to play OLED panel.
The project has been suspended due to a single OLED panel stack structure or profit issues or both. And now, Samsung Display needs a significant order from Apple to expand its Gen 8.5 (2200x2500mm) IT OLED panels this year.
In collaboration with Japan’s Ulvac, the South Korean display panel manufacturer continued development of the Vertical Deposit Machine until January 2022, for use in Gen 8.5 IT OLED panels launched last year.
Samsung Display needs Apple approval to start spending heavily on Gen 8.5 IT OLED production facilities. Cupertino must also decide whether or not to make enough OLED iPads. If Samsung Display gets a very large order from Apple at this point, it could finalize its spending plan in the second quarter and start ordering the necessary equipment in the third quarter.
And then the device is likely to be delivered in 2024 with a commercial iPad with an OLED panel in 2023. Samsung Display also plans to implement on-sale technology in its Gen 8.5 IT OLED panels they will not have a touch screen panel, which will make the device slimmer.
Meanwhile, unlike the Samsung display, the LG display is developing a horizontal deposition machine for its Gen 8.5 IT OLED panels. This requires a long band-shaped FMM stick that will sag in the center of the stick. To prevent sagging, the FMM stick is molded into a large frame.
Realme appears to be real threat to Samsung’s 5G growth
According to recent research from Counterpoint’s Market Monitor service, Realme is the fastest-growing 5G Android smartphone brand worldwide in the third quarter of 2021. Realme was able to overtake the market with 831% year-over-year growth compared to its 5G smartphone sales.
However, Samsung has increased its global 5G smartphone sales by 70% year-on-year in the third quarter of 2021. Though, this was not enough to drive the company forward. Samsung is not the fastest-growing 5G Android smartphone brand in Q3.
The Global 5G smartphone sales, which grew by 121% year on year. This increase helped Realme to maintain its sixth consecutive second consecutive quarter of global 5G Android smartphone sales. The other fast-growing 5G smartphone brands include OPPO and Vivo, which are powered by their mid-to-high-end 5G smartphones.
In addition, companies are actively pursuing 5G smartphones due to the better availability of 5G components. In India, Realme’s 5G sales grew by 9519% year-on-year, the highest in all regions. This increase is particularly noticeable for a country that has not yet implemented 5G networks.
The other Chinese brands are followed by, with its 5G sales growing by 830% year on year, making it one of the fastest-growing 5G smartphone brands in China. The third-largest growth came from Europe. However, Realme has the 7th largest 5G market share, despite the spectacular growth, it still does not pose a threat to Samsung.
Samsung Electro-Mechanics confirms $850 million investment to expand FC-BGA production
Recently, Samsung Electro-Mechanics has officially announced a new investment in FC-BGA, a high-value-based semiconductor substrate valued at 1.1 trillion won, the main consumer is expected to be Intel. The company is expected to fully retain the leading players in the FC-BGA field such as Ibiden and Shinko Denki of Japan.
According to Korean media TheElec, the company held a board meeting on the 23rd and announced that it would invest $850 million (approximately KRW 1.1 trillion) in production facilities and infrastructure for the production of the Flip Chip (FC) -Ball Grid Array (BGA) in Vietnam. The total investment will be implemented consecutively until 2023.
FC-type semiconductor substrates are roughly divided into FC-BGA and FC-chip-scale package (CSP). FC-BGA is mainly used for server/PC CPU and FC-CSP is mainly used for smartphone AP. Instead of FC-CSP between FC-BGA and FC-BGA, server access is more expensive than PC usage.
Also, Samsung Electro-Mechanics is expected to announce another new investment plan to supply FC-BGAs to overseas global customers. The customer is currently supplying FC-BGA for PC but is expected to supply FC-BGA for the server in the future.
Due to the spread of COVID-19, the demand for FC-BGA for servers and networks increased and supply shortages occurred. Technological advances are also a factor in the shortage of equipment.
The FC method has a shorter distance between the chip and the board than the traditional wire bonding method of connecting the chip and board with wires, so the electrical signal loss is lower and the input/output (I/O) number is formed.
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