Samsung Electronics plans to ship 45 million or more 5G-enabled smartphones this year in a move that would trigger heated competition between the South Korean tech giant and China’s Huawei, according to industry watchers on Jan. 7.
The 45 million-plus figure is nearly 7 times that of the 5G smartphones it shipped in 2019, and 15% of the 300 million handsets Samsung plans to ship this year.
In December 2019, Huawei had said it would be shipping 100 million 5G smartphones in China alone. Confirming the reports, Japanese MLCC firm Taiyo Yuden’s CEO Shoichi Tosaka said on Dec. 27 in an interview with Bloomberg that Huawei and ZTE have been placing the most MLCC orders.
But some critics point to the shortage of 5G networks in China, saying that it would be difficult for Huawei to ship that many 5G-enabled smartphones. China commercialized 5G services in November last year, which was about half a year later than Korea.
During the first 11 months of 2019, Samsung had shipped 6.7 million 5G smartphones including the S10 model. According to market research firm CounterPoint on Jan. 3, Samsung consequently took home a 53.9% share of the global 5G smartphone market.
In the third quarter of 2019, Samsung had the largest share of the 5G smartphone market with 74%, followed by LG Electronics with 10%.
Hit by US sanctions and lacking 5G infrastructure, Chinese smartphone makers covered little ground, with VIVO selling 400,000 handsets, followed by Huawei, Oppo and Xiaomi, which sold 100,000 each.
CounterPoint reports show 5G smartphones accounting for 18% of the total smartphone market this year by selling 250 million handsets, which would be a huge mark-up from the 14 million sold in 2019 accounting for 1%.
Apple also will be showcasing several hundred thousand 5G-enabled iPhones this year, while Samsung is looking to ship around 4.5 million foldable smartphones. This is about 8 times the number of Galaxy Fold handsets sold last year.
The foldable smartphone released in the latter half of the year will be 5G-enabled, according to those close to the matter.
The Elec is South Korea’s No.1 tech news platform.