Samsung Electronics Co. began production at a third factory for curved smartphone screens sooner than expected as demand surges for its Galaxy S6 Edge smartphone, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter.
Adding the production line, known as A3, enables Samsung Display Co. to more than double monthly output to 5 million screens from about 2 million currently, the people said, asking not to be identified as the matter is private. The plant is now online after the company previously planned on using the new factory sometime in June, one of the people said.
Samsung Electronics predicted record sales for the Galaxy S6 lineup, which includes a model with a traditional flat display, as the company seeks to win back customers who flocked to Apple Inc.’s new large-screen iPhones and Chinese vendors selling cheaper devices. Demand for Samsung’s new smartphones has exceeded company expectations since they went on sale April 10, the people said.
Samsung Display now has three plants that make displays using organic light-emitting diodes, or OLED, which offer sharper images at lower power than most liquid-crystal displays. The new production line uses a facility south of Seoul, located near one of the company’s existing plants making curved screens.
Samsung Electronics is working to improve and increase yield to meet demand for its devices, Co-Chief Executive Officer Shin Jong Kyun said April 9, a day before the new phones were released in 20 countries, including the U.S., U.K. and Germany.
Jun Eun Sun, a spokeswoman for Samsung Display, declined to disclose the company’s plans and targets for the production of the curved screens.
The display business is 85 percent owned by Samsung Electronics, while the rest is held by Samsung SDI Co. Samsung Display supplies Galaxy smartphones and devices by other vendors, including Apple’s iPads and MacBooks.
Samsung lost its outright lead as the world’s biggest smartphone maker in the fourth quarter, dropping into a tie for first with Apple, according to data from Strategy Analytics Inc. The maker of Galaxy devices saw its global market share plunge 10 percentage points as Chinese vendors such as Lenovo Group Ltd. and Huawei Technologies Co. captured more buyers.
Samsung expects to sell more than 70 million units of the new phone, the Korea Times reported April 15, citing an unidentified executive of the company.
The Suwon, South Korea-based company hasn’t released a target for S6 sales, except to say it will exceed previous high-end Galaxy S models.