[THE INVESTOR] Korean parts firms Samsung Electro-Mechanics and LG Innotek's profits have been buoyed by growing demand for dual-lens camera phones in the global market, industry watchers said on Feb. 16.
A dual camera smartphone is a handset sporting two camera lens -- front and rear -- to provide unique photography with different view angles and focuses.
LG G5's dual-lens camera
LG Innotek, which produced the world’s first dual cameras in 2011, went ahead of its rivals after becoming a sole supplier to Apple’s iPhone series since September. The supply to Apple led LG Innotek to post a record-breaking operating profit of 117.8 billion won ($103 million) in the fourth quarter of last year.
The parts company is expected to continue to post strong sales in the first quarter as LG Electronics' flagship smartphone G6, which will be unveiled at the Mobile World Congress, will feature its dual cameras.
“LG Innotek’s optical solutions unit is predicted to beat market expectations of 919.2 billion won in the first quarter, driven by LG’s flagship smartphone G6 sales,” said Noh Guen-chang, an analyst at HMC Investment & Securities.
Innotek’s rival Samsung Electro-mechanics, which posted an operating loss in the fourth quarter due to the discontinued sales of Galaxy Note 7, is also expected to make a turnaround this year because of rising demand for dual cameras from Chinese clients, analysts said.
Samsung Electro-mechanics began supplying its dual cameras for Chinese tech firms Xiaomi and LeEco since the third quarter and it is also in talks with other Chinese firms, such as Huawei, Oppo and Vivo, for new supply, industry watchers said.
Park Kang-ho, an analyst at Daishin Securities, said, “Samsung Electro-mechanics’ sales in China is expected to increase 108 percent from 312 billion won in 2016 to 649 billion won this year.”
The tech firm’s total camera sales will also rise 16.9 percent year-on-year to 2.4 trillion won, driven by rising sales of dual and high-definition cameras in the global market, Park added.
According to local market research firm Counterpoint, the sales of smartphones sporting dual cameras will rise more than 400 percent on-year to reach 300 million units in 2017.
By Shin Ji-hye/The Korea Herald (firstname.lastname@example.org)