Right now, there is a growing chaos between the US and China. It’s probably not good news for US companies and it’s almost definitely bad news for Chinese companies but for Korean’s Samsung, it’s like the stars are lining up. It’s not about a small victory, this is Samsung’s big shot at world technological domination. If we take a look at the top smartphone vendors globally, one thing stands out, that Huawei is huge. In the last five years this company’s grown from 5% market share to 20%, that’s ludicrous. This company was the single biggest threat to Samsung‘s mobile operations. But now is where that ends. The US ban means that Huawei can’t offer Google apps, they can’t build their own flagship chips and now just suffers from a general lack of trust. Without these things it’s just a matter of time before Huawei returns to just serving the Chinese market. So theoretically if we took Huawei out of the picture, Samsung becomes a clear number one leaving only Xiaomi as a realistic android rival. Xiaomi will also benefit if Huawei disappears as they have already managed to scoop up current Huawei users looking to fit an alternative with these attractively priced globally available devices. Plus, Xiaomi is putting particular emphasis on the fact that their phones can run Google Play services so as not to be confused with their other Chinese counterpart. But this is the issue Xiaomi faces. A lot of people who are unwilling to buy a Huawei phone because they don’t trust it might also not be willing to buy from other Chinese brands. The US banned Chinese Huawei, they banned Chinese ZTE a few years before that, they have announced a ban for Chinese Tik Tok and hence it’s not looking good for Chinese brands in general. Here is the thing right, the worse this US China relationship gets, the better Samsung does.
Apple is the only competitor but is iOS alone enough to beat the android giant?
Pretty much every one of the Samsung’s main competitors – Oppo, Vivo, and even a lot of companies sitting in that other section like Real me are all Chinese but Samsung dodged that bullet by being a company that is Korean and one that is publicly withdrawn from manufacturing in China instead moving to India and Vietnam. Guess what, those two just so happen to be regions that the US is trying to strengthen its relationship with. So, Samsung has kind of just found themselves in a position where people want their phones more and they started responding to it. The new Galaxy S20 fan edition was literally launched with the very purpose of capitalizing on increased appetite for Samsung and it fully expected them in the next year to start releasing more models than ever. Oh, and there is more. You might be aware that Apple just launched their first ever 5G iPhone 12 series during the Apple October Event 2020. Now generally when Apple introduces a feature on their phones that has actually been around for some time, they do it in a big way. Apple is often the company to catapult relatively niche features into the mainstream. They did it with voice assistance, they did it with a fingerprint scanner and just now they did it with 5G. The reason this helps Samsung is that believe it or not, they are one of the few companies that builds 5G infrastructure. There is a reasonable chance that you had no idea Samsung did this because the main three companies are Huawei, Nokia and Ericsson. But Samsung is fourth and now is the time for them to climb! With this political conflict, China is separating from the West. Huawei has been physically ripped out of a lot of Europe’s 5G infrastructure and it’s looking like China might retaliate in the exact same way that the west has vetoed use of Huawei. It’s very possible that China will just veto the use of European companies like Ericsson and Nokia.
Samsung obviously still have Apple to compete with but if the US cuts ties with China, then even Apple will struggle, because it’s very possible that China will retaliate with the same sentiment. No one in China will buy an iPhone and even if this doesn’t directly help Samsung because Samsung has no market share in China but it would hurt Apple. Besides Apple’s lot of manufacturing happens in China too which means that if they are pressured to pull out it might well mean they have to raise their prices for the rest of the world. But Samsung doesn’t seem to be worried about Apple much because the average customer is quite averse to jumping between Android and iOS, which means that if Chinese android brands fall in popularity their users are way more likely to turn to Samsung as opposed to iPhone. Plus, Samsung just serves a much wider net of users than Apple. Everything from the budget section which Apple doesn’t dare build for to foldables apart from Chinese companies the only foldable competition Samsung faces is from Motorola. They would pretty much have the entire foldable market.
Chipset business is all for Samsung to rule!
This all leaves Samsung as the only neutral party who could potentially supply both sides of the conflict and they are so going to grab this opportunity. A couple of weeks ago, Samsung signed a five-year deal with Verizon in the US to build 5G infrastructure for them. They are already wrestling in basically offering themselves as a ‘China free alternative to Huawei 5G’. They have just recently dropped over 20 billion dollars into 5G and AI and Samsung as well on their way into planning their 6G infrastructure to come in 2028. The better Samsung’s networking business does, the better their smartphones business does. If something starts building really close ties with Verizon and other carriers, then that would put Samsung’s hardware right in the limelight for customers because carriers are the ones selling the phones. But there is even more to this. Something like 30% of Samsung’s revenue right now is actually from its semiconductor business which cells chips and whilst this division might lose a bit of money in the short term because they used to sell bits and pieces to Huawei for their phones, in the long term it’s looking pretty good. For starters, Huawei was one of the few other companies who made mobile chipsets. Every year they’d come up with an increasingly advanced Kirin chip to power their flagship phones but the US ban makes it almost impossible. It’s likely that after 2020, Huawei just won’t be able to do it anymore, so the 20% of the market that used to be powered by Kirin is now open to being powered by Samsung. Plus, looking at the next generation, chipsets are going to be built on the tiny 5 nanometre fabrication process and it looks like Samsung was ready for this. This makes it look like Samsung has built the processes to be able to manufacture 5 nanometre chipsets with relatively high efficiency.
That means two things, Samsung’s next exynos processors should be way high at performance and this is backed up by Ice universe. Ice universe also adds that in 2022, they are going to start building in AMD’s graphic cores which might even flip their current Achilles heel into a strength. Apparently, Samsung as well as building their own, have been picked to build the next Qualcomm snapdragon 875 chips too.
Samsung’s supposed efficiency means that they can offer a five-nanometre chip to Qualcomm for less than TMRs who Qualcomm usually works with. So, Samsung rakes in money from Qualcomm and at the same time might be able to build their own exynos chipset which is comparable. And if they can do that, they will fly! Because Samsung can then happily use their own exynos chips in their own phones for no extra cost. Every other android maker will either have to work out an extra thirty to fifty dollars from Qualcomm to or come straight to Samsung. Either way, Samsung wins. They are in a position where they can leverage their 5G and their chipset business to push their mobile phone business forward. The US and China seems to be falling out and intentionally or not, Samsung is in the perfect position to gain from this. A lot of the world follows the US’s lead, if this carries on- which is looking like it will- then this won’t be just some small win for Samsung in the United States, this will be a global victory.