New players are entering Samsung’s supply chain for smartphone camera module rigid flexible printed circuit boards (RFPCB) as previously dominant companies are existing or reducing their related businesses.
Samsung Electro-Mechanics had exited the sector last year, while Daeduck Electronics is reducing their related business.
This has caused Samsung to give more orders to other companies such as SI Flex, Interflex and Newflex.
RFPCB are rigid and flexible at the same time: they fix the image sensor in place while absorbing the movement from the lens moving during operations.
For SI Flex and Interflex, however, winning more orders will allow them to scale and take advantage of fixed costs but as unit prices of RFPCB has gone down in recent years profitability is expected to remain flat.
Two years ago, Samsung drastically cut the unit prices of RFPCB as camera modules became more expensive due to more smartphones packing more cameras.
RFPCB prices have remained flat and become level between companies, sources said, while before prices were varied depending on companies.
Interflex is focusing more on manufacturing and supplying digitizers to Samsung. The company is effectively the sole supplier of the component, which is used in smartphones to support stylus.
Newflex, in the meantime, is benefiting from the changes in the supply change as it has been a small player in the sector.
Orders for RFPCB have exceeded its production capacity this year, sources said.
Its total production last year increased by 30% from 2020, they said. This growth is expected to continue this year.