Samsung courts Apple suppliers in manufacturing scrabble

Summary:Has the race to secure links in the supply chain begun?

comparison-620x443
Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET

As Samsung continues to dominate in global smartphone sales, the company's supply chain is feeling the pressure.

According to recent figures released by Gartner, Android is the preferred operating system, and South Korean firm Samsung holds 30.8 percent of the global marketshare for smartphone sales. With estimated shipments of 64.7 million units in comparison to Apple's 38.3 million in Q1 2013, it is not hard to see why manufacturers and those supplying the parts and labor to assemble the company's products might be feeling the strain.

The smartphone market is worth $253 billion, and both Apple and Samsung are jostling to take the largest slice of the market as possible. However, as reported by Reuters, this means that manufacturers able to cope with rising demand are in short supply -- and so Samsung is now courting some of Apple's main parts suppliers.

Although Samsung produces much of its parts in-house, the company has approached Apple partners including Sharp -- of which the firm now owns a three percent stake in return for investment of $110 million -- which is able to manufacture a range of screens suitable for mobile gadgets. In addition, Samsung placed an order with Sharp for LCD screens suitable for the Galaxy range, although according to the publication, this order has been cancelled, at least for now.

Samsung is now using U.S.-based Qualcomm's chips more often in the flagship Galaxy S. Tech firm Toshiba and Gorilla Glass designer Corning Inc both supply parts for Apple and Samsung products.

The overlap between Samsung and Apple is currently limited and unlikely to prove a disruption. However, as more consumers adopt mobile gadgets worldwide and the fight to dominate this market continues, we may see a fight between the two giants that doesn't involve patents.

"The next round of the post-patent battle for them will be over component supplies," said Lee Sun-tae, analyst at NH Investment & Securities told Reuters. "Who wins access to the best performing components in class in large quantity -- that's the key ... and explains why Samsung is shopping for components more than ever."

Topics: Apple, Samsung

About

Charlie Osborne, a medical anthropologist who studied at the University of Kent, UK, is a journalist, freelance photographer and former teacher. She has spent years travelling and working across Europe and the Middle East as a teacher, and has been involved in the running of businesses ranging from media and events to B2B sales. Charli... Full Bio

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.