​Samsung commits to foldable OLED phones for 2018

Samsung Electronics has committed to launching a foldable OLED phone this year to cement its premium leadership for its revived mobile business, while it expects steady growth for its chip business.

Samsung Electronics will differentiate itself from rivals in the saturated mobile market with the launch of a foldable OLED phone this year, the South Korean tech giant has said.

"In 2018, we will differentiate through development of cutting-edge products such as foldable OLED smartphones," the company said in its conference call for the fourth quarter of 2017 on Wednesday.

Samsung has been preparing to build a production site for foldable OLED for various applications, it said, to meet the production timeline, although nothing has been finalised as of yet.

Last year, the company's mobile boss said that the company was preparing the launch of a foldable phone in 2018 as part of its Galaxy Note series, though there were many obstacles such as UX that may change the schedule.

The company will cement its premium leadership with the launch of Galaxy S9 at MWC, the firm added.

Samsung reported an operating profit of 53.65 trillion won last year and revenues of 239.58 trillion won for 2017, both its highest ever.

Its mobile business contributed 11.83 trillion in operating profits in total, higher than 2016's profits of 10.81 trillion won, which suffered from the recall of the Galaxy Note 7.

The company said going forward it will launch optimised phones in India against the rise of Chinese vendors. Samsung ceded its top spot, which it held since 2011, to Xiaomi in India last year.

The company said it had a healthy mix in its line-up and will renew focus on mid-tier phones going forward.

Meanwhile, it will likely be the semiconductor business that contributes the lion's share of growth this year. In 2017, the division posted 35.2 trillion won in profits, its highest ever, backed by strong demand for DRAM and NAND throughout. The record profits helped Samsung push out Intel for the top spot in semiconductor revenue for the first time in 24 years.

This year it expects a steady growth, thanks to high demand for DRAM in games, servers, and artificial intelligence (AI) applications. NAND demand will be level with 2017 thanks to continuous demand from premium smartphones and SSDs.

Samsung's display unit also contributed 5.4 trillion won, thanks to high demand for its flexible OLED displays. Apple, Google, and Chinese vendors are buying OLED displays from the South Korean tech giant for its premium phones.

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