AND News reports that Samsung Display has signed an agreement to supply foldable displays to some smartphone manufacturers in China.

The plan of Samsung Display (SD) is to start shipping the displays in the third quarter and deliver 1 million units by the end of the year.

This will lead to the announcement of several foldable phones in the second half of 2021. According to insiders, Oppo and Vivo will launch affordable phones in the summer and fall of 2021, other companies may also be involved in this battle. For Samsung, the company will supply both large horizontal folding screens (like on the Z Fold) and smaller vertical folding screens (Z Flip) in the upcoming time of 2021.

An Oppo folding phone prototype showcased at MWC 2019

So far, the only buyer of SD‘s foldable panels has been Samsung Electronics (which uses them in the Galaxy Z Fold and Z Flip phones).

SD has tried to recruit other buyers in recent years, but things have not gone as planned.

Huawei was lined up to make a purchase, but U.S. sanctions on the company threw a wrench into those plans. Instead, Huawei used foldable screens from BOE. CSOT is another company in China which manufactures foldable screens.

Samsung Display is currently the only one to use Ultra Thin Glass (UTG) in its foldable displays, giving it the edge. However, reports from November indicate that BOE also plans to launch panels with UTG.

Number of panelsfor Samsung Electronicsfor Chinese manufacturers
Vertical screens7,845,000800 000
Horizontal screens3,155,000260,000

Regardless, Samsung Display is expected to produce more than 10 million foldable panels this year. Only 1 million of them are destined for China, the rest for Samsung Electronics. The table above shows the shipping forecast for panels of each type.

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