03-18: Samsung is geared up to launch India-focused smartphones across price points in the remaining part of 2018; Huawei is set to significantly ramp up handset production capacity at its Chennai factory; etc.

Chipsets

Baidu has launched a quantum computing research center devoted to the research of quantum computing and its applications in Baidu’s various businesses. Baidu said it is hoping the newly established center will become a top research institution in quantum computing in the world within 5 years.  (Laoyaoba, MIT Technology Review, China Money Network)

SambaNova Systems, a Palo-Alto-based startup developing next-generation computing platforms to power machine learning and data analytics applications, has announced USD56M in Series A funding led by Walden International and GV (formerly Google Ventures), with participation from Redline Capital and Atlantic Bridge Ventures. (Laoyaoba, CNBC, TechCrunch, Business Wire)

Touch Display

According to Kim Hyun-soo, an analyst from Hana Investment, LG Electronics will likely adopt an LCD display for its upcoming flagship smartphone, tentatively called the G7, in a bid to reduce costs amid sustained losses of its mobile division. (GSM Arena, CN Beta, The Investor)

IHS Markit expects Apple to launch 2 AMOLED iPhone with 5.85” and 6.45” and 1 LCD iPhone with 6.1”. According to IHS Markt, iPhone sales are below expectation. The 5.85” 2436×1125 flexible AMOLED panel shipment in 2017 is 55M units, yet the phone sales are around 45M units, which means there would be 10M units of panel inventory entering 2018. (Laoyaoba, OfWeek, CNA)

Storage

IC Insights have adjusted upward the DRAM and NAND flash memory market growth forecasts for 2018— 37% for DRAM (13% previously) and 17% for NAND flash (10% previously). IC Insights now forecasts that the DRAM ASP will register a 36% jump in 2018 as compared to 2017, when the DRAM ASP surged by an amazing 81%.  Moreover, the NAND flash ASP is forecast to increase 10% in 2018, after jumping by 45% in 2017.  At USD99.6B, the DRAM market is forecast to be by far the largest single product category in the IC industry in 2018, exceeding the expected NAND flash market (USD62.1B) by USD37.5B.   (IC Insights, press, Laoyaoba)

Connectivity

According to IHS Markit, Huawei has become the largest telecom equipment maker in 2017 beating Ericsson, which is struggling to find networking deals in several markets. Huawei’s mobile infrastructure share increased from 25% to 28%.  (Telecom Lead, IHS Markit, GizChina, EEPW)

 

Phones

According to Xiaomi’s Pre-IPO financing, Xiaomi lost about CNY980M (about USD155M) in 2015. In 2016, it earned CNY913M (USD145M) while in 2017, it is expected to reach CNY7.582B (about USD1.2B). The profit rate is 6.5%, and it is expected to increase to CNY18.831B (about USD3B) in 2019. In the 4 years from 2016 to 2019, Xiaomi’s net profit has reached a compound annual growth rate of 174%. (GizChina, Business Standard, WSJ, OCN)

Samsung is geared up to launch India-focused smartphones across price points in the remaining part of 2018, according to Asim Warsi, Global Vice President, Samsung India. The company is focusing on multi-dimensional strategies to counter the growing competition, especially from the Chinese players. (Android Headlines, Financial Express)

Huawei is set to significantly ramp up handset production capacity at its Chennai factory and also increase the number of its original equipment maker (OEM) partners as part of its efforts to boost local smartphone manufacturing in a bid to target a 10%-plus market share in India from the present level of about 2%.  Peter Zhai, president of Huawei India’s Consumer Business Group indicates that the company has committed to India’s telecom minister Manoj Sinha to deepen their ‘Make in India’ engagement and build local capacity. (Laoyaoba, Economic Times)

According to IDC Taiwan, Foxconn exceeds Samsung in 4Q17, becoming the largest smartphone manufacturer. Thanks to Apple iPhone 8, iPhone X orders, Foxconn has exceeded Samsung. Also thanks to Apple’s orders, Pegatron is raised to top 3. OPPO and vivo follow at number 4 and 5, respectively. (My Drivers, Laoyaoba, IDC, press)

PCs / Tablets

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicts that Apple’s MacBook could see a 13%~16% growth in 2018. This is versus other products like the iPhone which he thinks will grow by 4%~6%, while the iPad will grow by 7%~10%. (Ubergizmo, Street Insider, 9to5Mac, iClarified, CNMO, iFeng)

Wearables

L’Oreal has announced that it has acquired Modiface, a company that’s had a hand in the creation of many custom augmented reality (AR) beauty apps, including those from Sephora and Estée Lauder. (The Verge, Reuters, 36Kr, eBrun)

LG’s patent, which is titled ‘personal immersive display device and driving method of origin’ the patent details a head-mounted display (HMD) with a built-in camera. It is able to determine the position of the users pupil. Based on the information that camera picks up the processor can determine the user’s gaze and use this to optimize the image that the user is viewing, while reducing the resolution and brightness of those not being viewed. (Laoyaoba, VR Focus)

Internet of Things

Hisense Group chairman Zhou Houjian indicates that the company must bring the television operations it recently bought from Toshiba into the black within 3 years. Asked about a legal dispute with Sharp over Hisense’s use of the Japanese manufacturer’s brand for TVs in North and South America, Zhou said that “both sides withdrew their complaints”.  (TechNews, iam-media, Reuters, Asia Nikkei)

Uber Technologies is reportedly discussing the possibility of installing its self-driving system in Toyota Motor vehicles as the U.S. ride-hailing firm seeks to sell its autonomous driving technology to outside companies. (Engadget, Reuters, Asia Nikkei, Reuters CN, Sina)

General Motors CEO Mary Barra announces the car company will expand production of its Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle. To date, General Motors has sold around 25,000 Bolts worldwide. GM will increase production of the Chevrolet Bolt later this year at its Orion Assembly plant near Detroit to meet growing global demand for the all-electric model. (CN Beta, CNET, CNBC)

Commerce

Walmart is reportedly in discussions to spend about USD7B to become the largest investor in Flipkart. The Bentonville, Arkansas-based company could invest between USD10B~12B for the entire purchase. (CN Beta, Bloomberg, CNBC)

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