Korean majors cross fingers for Sony recovery

Samsung and LG are showing mixed feelings over the current business troubles of Sony – as it is a top partner for the Korean pair that sell it billions of dollars worth of components.

Up until 2010, Samsung and Sony were really very pally, with Sony buying around $5.3 billion worth of parts. This included flat-screens and memory chips such as advanced mobile DRAMs and NAND flash for use in the company’s Bravia-brand TVs and for its smartphones.

As part of its restructuring plan, Sony decided to terminate its partnership with Samsung in its flat-screen joint venture that had been going on since 2004.

However, Samsung still has feelings for its once profitable partner, claiming that it is still one of its top clients and that it wants to see it recover quickly.

In LG and flat-screen affiliate LG Display’s camp, according to the Korea Times, the feelings reflect those of Samsung, with Sony being described as a “big help’’ in pushing LG’s in-house film patterned retarder (FPR) 3D technology.

Sony is releasing more of its 3D TV sets equipped with LG components in key markets such as China, meaning that LG wants to see the company recover.

Bob Raikes, principal of specialist display analyst, Meko, told TechEye: “The relationships between the Korean majors and the other consumer electronics companies is a complex one of competition and cooperation.

“The difficulty of managing the customer supplier balance is one reason why we believe that
Samsung, in particular, is gradually splitting between its component supply
companies and the ‘set-making’ part of the business,” Raikes said.  

“When Apple is Samsung’s biggest customer, but is also its biggest competitor in a range
of markets, the company has to manage things very carefully.”