Huawei, ZTE show no interest in Samsung chips
By Cho Mu-hyun
BARCELONA - Chinese technology giants Huawei and ZTE seem uninterested in buying Samsung Electronics’ recently unveiled application processor (AP).
Officials of the rapidly expanding Chinese firms at their booth at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, said they were unimpressed by Samsung’s Exynos Octa, the first AP to have eight cores unveiled at the Consumers Electronics Show in Las Vegas last month, and are unlikely to purchase them.
“Only Samsung uses Samsung chips,” a Huawei official told The Korea Times during a brief meeting on the sidelines of the trade show.
“We have our partnership with Qualcomm and our own chip business. We want to expand our own chips for devices.
“We are currently really not interested in using Exynos,” he added.
The Chinese firm boasts a diverse product portfolio including handsets, tablets, network equipment and set-top boxes and only trails the Korean company in terms of technology but is quickly closing in to the surprise of many local executives who visited its booth.
“Last year, we considered Huawei a business that only competes through manufacturing power and price-competitiveness but I was really surprised to see some technologically innovative products at its booth,” said a senior official of local mobile operator KT. “It was a complete shock for us to see how much change they made in a year.”
Officials of ZTE also said they were unimpressed by the octo-core processor by Samsung. They were also confident in their firm’s expansion in smartphones.
“We aim to become the third-largest manufacturer of smartphones by 2015,” said a ZTE official at the company’s booth. “I really don’t know about Samsung’s chip outlook for the short term. But the octo-core processor wasn’t really that interesting for us and we are not likely to purchase those chips.
“Samsung is a very competitive company but we are also rising incredibly fast.”
The chip business is a lucrative revenue line for Samsung and the one in which its Chairman Lee Kun-hee shows the strongest interest. Until its partnership with Apple where it supplied AP manufacturing, Samsung was only powerful in memory chips but now its hopes to earn more from processors.
Its dual strength in finished-goods and components has made it one of the quickest adapters in the rapidly changing information technology sector but comments from Chinese officials imply that they would emulate that model rather than remain dependent on Samsung for parts.
Another ZTE official said separately that the company plans to aggressively expand in the United States this year and is confident of its future growth.
The Huawei official declined to elaborate on its figure or target but said their outlook would be similar to that of ZTE.
However, the two firms are important clients for Samsung in liquid crystal display panels and said that they would continue that relationship.
“We use multiple manufacturers for our displays and Samsung is definitely one of them. We will continue (that relationship),” said the ZTE official.
The Korean firm has recently converted its television panel lines in China into those for mobile devices, especially “phablets,” devices that blur the line between handsets and tablets, to increase supply to local vendors there.