South Korean display manufacturer Samsung Display has increased the production volume of foldable smartphone displays as Galaxy Fold has gained higher-than-expected popularity, according to news reports on Oct. 15.
After producing 40,000 foldable panels in August, the display maker had initially planned to roll out 67,000 units in September. However, it rolled out 92,000 last month, up 40 percent from the original target, as the Fold is selling out fast, according to daily newspaper Dong-a Ilbo.
The company will likely try to keep the momentum by fully operating its manufacturing lines for foldable displays. It is forecast to produce 102,000 panels in October and 99,000 in November. The display maker’s production capacity of foldable OLED displays currently stands at 3,300 a day, which means the manufacturing lines will be at full throttle, at least, for the next couple of months.
In the first two rounds of preorders last month, the Fold sold out within 15 minutes, but the units prepared for the third preorder event on Sept. 14 sold out in 11 hours.
Citing the slowing pace in sales and some negative reviews that shed light on the durability issues of the smartphone’s screen, some market watchers said what seems to be a fragile device is already losing its steam.
The trade spat between Korea and Japan is also weighing down on the display firm. Japan has toughened the imports of chemicals and materials essential for manufacturing semiconductors and displays, and Samsung Display utilizes transparent polyimide manufactured by Sumitomo Chemical in Japan.
“To overcome the supply issues, Samsung Display could replace materials currently being supplied by Japanese partners with those made by domestic firms,” an industry official said.
Samsung Electronics’ first foldable phone was launched in France, Germany, the UK and Singapore on Sept. 18, and in the US on Sept. 27.
By Kim Young-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)