This year’s rally in shares of Samsung Electronics Co paused following the highly anticipated debut of its $1,980 foldable Galaxy handset.
The world’s largest smartphone maker’s stock was little changed Thursday amid mixed comments from analysts and Twitter observers regarding the Galaxy Fold’s high price tag, functionality and sales prospects. Samsung is still up more than 20 per cent in 2019, rebounding from a drop of over 20 per cent last year.
“The phone seems to be pretty good, in terms of price and design, as I thought it would be $3,000,” said Park Sung-shin, fund manager at KTB Asset Management. “Shares of Samsung and its suppliers are falling just for profit-taking after the event.”
Suppliers’ shares were mixed, with Samsung Electro-Mechanics Co and Partron Co declining as much as about 3 per cent while Power Logics Co and Elk Corp each surged at least 5 per cent. The standout was Finetek Co, which jumped more than 20 per cent for a second-straight day in Seoul. Finetek was the first South Korean company to develop equipment for “bonding” components in flexible screens, according to a spokesman.
The Fold’s technology is impressive enough that Samsung Display targets sales of flexible-screen panels to clients in China, though it may wait about a year or so in order to prevent rival smartphones from catching up with its parent’s flagship product too quickly, Samsung Securities said in a report.
“While shipment volume in absolute terms is not significant, we believe that its role as a pioneer in changing smartphone form factors is noteworthy,” Peter Lee, an analyst at Citigroup Global Markets Inc. wrote in a note. Citi estimates Samsung will ship 1 million foldable phones this year, with total shipments for its new GS10 line of devices reaching 37 million compared with about 40 million “historically” for a smartphone series.
“It’s an important step in opening the market of foldable phones,” Lee Dongju, an analyst at KTB Investment, wrote in a note. “The debut is meaningful in itself.”