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Global shipment of foldable smartphones expected to reach 18.5 million units in 2023: report

Global shipment of foldable smartphones expected to reach 18.5 million units in 2023: report

Global shipment of foldable smartphones expected to reach 18.5 million units in 2023: report

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Annual global shipment of foldable smartphones will increase to 18.5 million units in 2023 from 12.8 million units in 2022, according to a recent report by market research firm Trendforce. With this trend, the market for hinges in foldable OLED smartphones is also growing and it will reach $500 million (about Rs. 4,085 crore) this year. Foldable smartphones currently consist of teardrop hinges and U-shaped hinges and KH Vatech and S-connect are the key players in the industry. The foldable smartphone market includes flip-up and foldable devices and the space is currently dominated by Samsung. Last year, the South Korean company introduced the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Galaxy Z Fold 4 as its latest models in its foldable lineup.

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TrendForce’s report says annual global shipments of foldable smartphones that include both flip and foldable form factors will hit 18.5 million units in 2023. Last year, 12.8 million units were shipped worldwide. According to data shared by the company, Samsung has carved out the lion’s share of the foldable smartphone space, with an 82% market share last year. Rising sales of foldable handsets also elevate hinges market and global market value of hinges used in foldable OLED smartphones will grow 14.6% year-on-year to reach 500 million level dollars for 2023.

Teardrop and U-shaped hinges are commonly used in foldable smartphones and Samsung uses the latter. Currently, KH Vatech and S-connect supply hinges for the South Korean brand. But in the future, TrendForce predicts that Samsung will diversify its hinge suppliers to reduce expenses. Amphenol and Asia Vital Components (AVC) are the suppliers of teardrop hinges. Other smartphone brands using these hinges took a total market share of 20% in 2022.

With the growing demand for foldable handsets, brands are looking for lightweight and strong composite materials for the hinges to reduce the weight of the device. TrendForce mentioned that Xiaomi’s Mix Fold 2 is made of carbon fiber and is 11.2mm thick when folded. The Honor Magic Vs and Oppo Find N2 also use the same materials.

The firm also noted that panel makers are also involved in the development of foldable hinges for smartphones. CSOT unveiled a “semi-set” workflow that integrates an OLED display module with the necessary hinges, bringing a one-piece component. These types of solutions will speed up the product development cycle and ensure product optimization.

According to TrendForce, folding crease is the most common issue cited by users of foldable devices. The report points out that the screen of a foldable smartphone does not fold completely flat when closed. Based on the hinge design, the foldable screen will turn into either a “U” or a teardrop style design. The latter has a larger allowable screen perimeter than a U-shaped hinge, and the corresponding crease is less noticeable.


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