More Chinese battery makers are being added to the supplier portfolio of Korean smartphone makers such as Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics that are increasingly pursuing ODM smartphones.
Industry sources said on Jan. 6 that companies like ATL and BYD are mass producing the batteries they plan to supply to LG Electronics. This marks the first time for both manufacturers to supply to the LG affiliate.
Until now, LG Electronics had been supplied by its affiliate LG Chem or other Korean firms such as Dongwha ES and Techno Hill.
LG Electronics has been adding Chinese companies such as Wingtech, Huaqin, Longcheer and CNCE as suppliers. The Korean electronics firm is now aiming to apply ODM to not only budget phones, but to those of the mid-tier as well.
It may also be easier to supply LG’s high-end smartphones than Samsung. Since the Galaxy Note 7 battery explosion, Samsung Electronics’ mobile business has been keeping ATL out of its premium models. Instead, it is leaning on Samsung SDI for batteries, and adding LG Chem as a new supplier.
LGE, however, does not have a preference for a certain battery maker and may decide to partner with a Chinese manufacturer for its premium models.
ODM-oriented smartphones strategies also mean less business for Korean battery makers like Samsung SDI and LG Chem.
“Local battery manufacturers have been actively looking to woo Chinese smartphone makers such as Huawei, Oppo and Vivo,” said one industry watcher. “We understand that some are in talks for supplying button cell batteries for Bluetooth earphones.”
The Elec is South Korea’s No.1 tech news platform.