South Korean technology conglomerate Samsung Electronics is reportedly eyeing a partnership with China-based BOE for the displays of the former’s foldable phones. Here’s the story.

Partnership with China’s BOE

Samsung may be planning to add one of the rivals of the Display department to the company’s supply chain for high-end Galaxy smartphone units. Its mobile division is said to have been discussing a possible tie-up with China’s BOE to supply Samsung with high-end displays, including for its foldable phones.  

BOE has previously supplied Samsung with rigid displays for its mid-range phones and Galaxy smartphones, but it has yet to collaborate with the Korean tech giant’s high-end supply chain. However, this may still change, as Samsung is still trying to diversify its list of display partners, according to IT Home, citing Korean media outlets. 

The report further speculates that BOE may even supply foldable panels not just for the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Z Flip 5 but also for the Galaxy Z Flip 6 and Fold 6 models slated for release next year. 

This is very promising, seeing how Samsung has yet to test the capability of BOE to adhere to deadlines and meet its quality standard for its foldable panels. Tech experts suggest Samsung may first want to test the waters with one generation of its foldable devices before actually committing to the partnership for the long term. But seeing how things are happening now, these experts are saying the company may also be desperate to diversify its supply chain.

Should the partnership push through, what will this mean for Samsung Display?

You can relax. Nothing is final yet. For now, the reports say Samsung Electronics and BOE have not yet agreed on anything regarding the former’s high-end displays. And as far as foldable displays are concerned, Samsung has so far only acquired foldable panels from Samsung Display. But, if the partnership pushes through and BOE becomes part of its supply chain, this could mean fewer sales for its Display arm, unfortunately.

At the same time, it is interesting to note that Samsung Display is forging partnerships with other companies each year, such as helping Google launch its first foldable phone, the Pixel Fold. 

The possible collaboration with BOE could also be that Samsung Display may already have reached its production capacity for its foldable panels, and the division wants to diversify its supply chain so that the Display arm can honor its contracts with other companies. 

From the perspective of Apple, on the other hand, Samsung Display and BOE seem to be in a competition over market share, with recent reports saying BOE is gradually eating away at Samsung’s market share for Apple displays. Some are also saying BOE may even acquire its first orders of LTPO iPhone panels in 2024. 

Samsung is yet to unveil its Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Z Flip 5 this third quarter. For now, it continues to offer the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Z Flip 4, featuring foldable displays from its Display division. No BOE yet on the scene. 

BOE, doing business as BOE Technology Group Co Ltd, is a Beijing Electronics Holdings Co Ltd subsidiary. It develops, manufactures, and markets electronic items and services. The categories are smart manufacturing, smart energy systems, and smart vehicle-mounted systems. 

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