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Samsung launches new 5G foldable phones in 40 countries

Samsung hopes Galaxy Z Flip3, Galaxy Z Fold3 to widen the gap again with Apple, Xiaomi

By Aug 27, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

Samsung's pop-up store in VivoCity, a shopping mall in Singapore
Samsung's pop-up store in VivoCity, a shopping mall in Singapore

Samsung Electronics Co. on Friday officially launched the new models of its high-end smartphones Galaxy Z Fold3 and Galaxy Z Flip3 in 40 countries, alongside its new smartwatch, the Galaxy Watch4 and a set of new wireless earbuds, the Galaxy Buds2.

The new Galaxy products are now available in South Korea and the US, as well as in 37 European countries including the UK and France. In China, they will likely be released next month.

By October, they will be marketed in a total of 130 countries, including the Middle East and Central and South America.

Samsung expects the new 5G-enabled foldables will be game changers in the premium smartphone segment, solidifying its No. 1 position in the smartphone market far ahead of Apple Inc. and China's Xiaomi Inc.

With its competitors narrowing the gap with Samsung, the South Korean tech giant hopes to outmaneuver them by making the new Galaxy series as mainstream phones.

Samsung's share in the global smartphone market has remained unchanged at 19.8% in the first half of this year, compared with a year-earlier period, but declined from 21.1% in the first half of 2019.

In contrast, Apple has been expanding its footprint to 16.0% from 13.6% and 11.2% during the same period. Xiaomi's market share has leapt to 14.9% at the end of June of this year, versus 8.6% two years earlier. 
The Galaxy Z Fold3 and Z Flip3
The Galaxy Z Fold3 and Z Flip3

During its Galaxy Unpacked 2021 event on Aug. 11, the Samsung unveiled the two new folding phones, the Z Fold3 and Z Flip3; the Galaxy Watch4 and Galaxy Watch4 Classic; and the Galaxy Buds2.

The pre-orders for the Galaxy Watch4, which come with an upgraded design and improved performance, were 10 times more than its previous model.

According to market tracker Counterpoint Research, global sales of smartwatches picked up by 27% in the second quarter from a year earlier.
Roh Tae-moon, head of Samsung's mobile communications division
Roh Tae-moon, head of Samsung's mobile communications division

The Galaxy Z Fold3 phones come in 256 gigabytes (GB) and 512 GB capacities and their prices are set around 2 million won ($1,710). In comparison, all the Z Flip3 phones have a 256 GB capacity in seven colors and are marketed at 1.25 million won.

In South Korea, the two phones received pre-orders of 920,000 units during the Aug. 17-23 week before their official launch. That was an 11-fold increase from the pre-orders for its previous model Galaxy Z Fold2, the Android-based foldable smartphone unveiled in August 2020.

That also compared with the Galaxy S21 and Galaxy Note20, which were released last year and in South Korea recorded pre-orders of 500,000 units and 700,000 units, respectively.

The pre-booking amount in the US for the new smartphones surpassed that of its second-generation foldable phones sold between January and July of this year. In India, it recorded 2.7 times more pre-orders than its Galaxy Note20 series on the first day of its pre-booking on Aug. 24.

Samsung launches new 5G foldable phones in 40 countries

Global sales of foldable phones are expected to reach 6.5 million units this year, according to a study from Strategy Analytics in May. The projection was in line with Samsung's forecast of 6 million-7 million units of global shipments in 2021.

Counterpoint Research on Aug. 6 estimated the global shipments of foldable phones at 9 million units this year.

A display research house, Display Supply Chain Consultants, on Aug. 23 said global sales of display panels for use in foldable phones would reach 10.4 million units in 2021, enough to produce 8 million foldable phones. The latest forecast spawned market speculations that Samsung could raise its sales target and production capacity.

Write to Min-jun Suh and Sung-soo Bae at morandol@hankyung.com

Yeonhee Kim edited this article.

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