Samsung Electronics recently announced its 2022 supplier list, with Chinese optic lenses maker Sunny Optical a new addition to the list. Moreover, China's BOE is noticeably missing from the list, marking a change in the relationship between Samsung and its suppliers.
According to a report from Korea's The Elec, Sunny Optical's revenue from the lens and camera modules used in Samsung smartphones has continued to increase. To Samsung, Sunny's modules provide great vertical integration. The market estimates Sunny will be providing the two back camera modules for Samsung's flagship Galaxy S23 Ultra model, set to launch in 2023.
Increasing Sunny's supply share also gives Samsung price leverage against Taiwan's Largan Precision (lens module) and other domestic/foreign suppliers (camera module).
On the other hand, although Samsung still listed BOE as a panel supplier in its 3Q22 financial report, BOE is noticeably absent from the 2022 suppliers list. The reason is speculated to be related to the sales reduction of BOE's Samsung TV panels.
Industry sources pointed out that although BOE supplies panels for Samsung TVs and phones, it refused a Samsung request for royalty payment regarding the use of Samsung's name in BOE's advertisements during the first half of 2022. Since this dispute, Samsung has reduced its LCD panel purchases from BOE and instead placed orders with LG Display and TCL CSOT, where Samsung Display (SDC) is a shareholder.
Another notable change in Samsung's 2022 supplier list is the removal of Japan's Alps Electric, Nitto Denko, and Rohm. Additions include Semes, an SDC subsidiary, as well as Samsung Group affiliates Hansol Technics, KH Vatec, and Simmtech. KH Vatec supplies the hinges for foldable phones while Simmtech produces semiconductor substrates.
When Korean camera module component maker Jahwa Electronics made it into Apple's supply chain, there were speculations that it would be difficult for Jahwa to maintain its partnership with Samsung afterward. Ultimately though, Jahwa still got the order for Samsung's Galaxy S23 and will be supplying the phone's optical image stabilization (OIS) actuators.
The Elec pointed out that Samsung's 2022 supplier list only includes suppliers that accounted for 80% of purchases for a certain component and also agreed to be on the list. It's up to the suppliers and Samsung to decide whether or not to publicize their partnership. In addition, this list needs to be verified by the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA).