New setbacks for Huawei. Samsung Electronics and LG Display will stop supplying Huawei with panels for their smartphones following the US trade blockade, according to Chosun Biz, South Korea’s largest newspaper. The two companies will suspend their relationship with Huawei to provide supplies as of September 15 , the date on which the new restrictions of the Trump administration go into effect that prohibit any company that uses US components from selling to Huawei.
In response to Reuters , LG Display explained that “these US restrictions will have a minimal impact on the company” as it “supplies a limited number of panels to Huawei.” On the other hand, Samsung Display, has decided not to make statements.
These new sanctions were presented last August and as explained by Richard Yu , CEO of Huawei, this meant that they could not produce their Kirin processors. Now the Chinese giant faces the loss of two panel suppliers such as Samsung and LG Display.
Without Samsung or LG Display, Huawei is in the hands of the Chinese manufacturer BOE
In addition to panels, Samsung will stop supplying components to Huawei according to the same media. Memory maker SK Hynix will also join in on this decision. The last May , was TSMC who stopped producing for the Chinese manufacturer.
At the end of July, China was promoting the creation of SMIC (China Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp) for the development of transistors and components.
According to TheEELec , Samsung is the exclusive supplier of OLED panels for the flagship Huawei P40 Pro +. On the other hand, the P40 Pro model uses panels from Samsung, BOE and LED Display in a combined way , while the Huawei P40 bets exclusively on BOE panels.
The Chinese company BOE is one of the largest panel suppliers in the world and Huawei is expected to continue working with its OLED panels for the future Huawei Mate 40. Other Chinese panel suppliers such as CSOT or Visionox have not had enough success so far to be able to compete for a place in the high-end range.
Currently, BOE supplies curved OLED panels to manufacturers such as Huawei or Motorola. In 2019 , with 413 million panels shipped globally, it surpassed Samsung Display as the world’s largest supplier of smartphone panels. Other manufacturers like Apple have also opted for BOE panels for devices like the Apple Watch. It was even rumored that Apple would use BOE OLED panels for the future iPhone 12; although I would have ended up discarding this option .
What options does Huawei have for laptops and televisions
The decision not to send panels to Huawei will not only affect smartphones. Under its 1 + 8 + N strategy, it has been promoting its ecosystem of laptops, tablets and televisions for several years. All of them devices with large screens, in some cases manufactured by Samsung or LG.
BOE was positioned in 2019 as the world’s largest supplier of laptop panels with 55.1 million units, far behind Samsung and LG according to data from Sigmaintell. In the following positions are AUO and Innolux. In the case of LG Display, a total of 29 million panels for laptops were sent, a considerably lower number although with the particularity of working with international brands such as Apple or Microsoft.
In recent years the growth of BOE has been enormous and in other sectors such as monitors and LCD panels for televisions it has surpassed LG Display . We will have to wait for what are Huawei’s next moves for products like its Vision X65 , its first OLED TV. Without LG’s panels, Huawei could bet on adopting designs similar to those of TCL , which produces its own panels.