Huawei has started mass production of its next foldable smartphone since November, according to industry sources. The phone will compete with Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip 3 and is expected to be cheaper.
Digitimes reported that at an investor conference on November 25, Mega Revealed that it had started mass producing a hinge for a new foldable smartphone for a customer that requires fewer parts than its predecessor and thus a higher yield. Although Zhao Li did not name the customer, industry observers believed it was referring to Huawei.
As consumers' enthusiasm for lightweight, high-resolution smartphones wanes, companies are focusing on the development of foldable smartphones. Other companies, including Huawei, have ramped up production of their own foldable devices after seeing the success of Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip 3 sales.
But despite their popularity, foldable smartphones are just entering the market and are extremely expensive, often twice as expensive as regular smartphones. When Samsung decided to release the Galaxy Z Flip 3 at a low price in August, it sold more than 1 million units in just 40 days.
Samsung plans to increase shipments of foldable smartphones from 7 million to 13 million units by 2022, including 4 million units of the Galaxy Z Fold and 9 million units of the Galaxy Z Flip. Rival Huawei is currently lagging behind in foldable smartphones due to trade frictions between China and the United States.
Foldable smartphones will account for 20 percent of Samsung's total smartphone shipments by 2022, and Huawei's new foldable smartphones will also be launched next year, industry insiders said. Google, Xiaomi, OPPO and Vivo also plan to release new foldable models soon.
According to DIGITIMES Research, more than 100 million foldable smartphones will be shipped globally by 2025 and more than 150 million by 2026. If Apple decides to enter the fray, that number will be reached sooner, the institute noted.