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Samsung signals unveiling new foldable phones in Seoul for 1st time

By Jie Ye-eun

Published : June 2, 2023 - 15:05

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Lee Young-hee, president of the global marketing center at Samsung Electronics, hinted that the tech giant could hold the upcoming Galaxy Upacked event for the first time in Seoul. (Samsung Electronics) Lee Young-hee, president of the global marketing center at Samsung Electronics, hinted that the tech giant could hold the upcoming Galaxy Upacked event for the first time in Seoul. (Samsung Electronics)

Samsung Electronics’ marketing chief on Thursday hinted that the tech giant’s Galaxy Unpacked event could be held in South Korea for the first time this summer.

“South Korea is an important market and Seoul is a meaningful place,” Lee Young-hee, president of global marketing at Samsung’s mobile business division, told reporters last week at the Samsung Ho-Am Prize award ceremony when she was asked about the possibility of Samsung unveiling its new foldable phones in Korea.

Amid growing speculation that the tech giant is highly likely to hold this year’s unveiling event for its new foldable phones in Korea, it was the first time a high-ranking Samsung executive commented on the possibility.

Samsung usually holds two highly-publicized launch events for its Galaxy devices every year – one for its flagship Galaxy S phones in the first half and another for its Z foldable phones in the second half.

In recent years, all the events were held in the US or Europe. In February this year, the company held an unpacking event for its Galaxy S23 phones in San Francisco.

“An official announcement will likely be made sometime next week,” a Samsung official told The Korea Herald on Friday.

Even though Samsung remains mum over the venue and date of the upcoming launch event for its new foldable smartphones, tentatively dubbed Galaxy Z Flip 5 and Z Fold 5, industry sources say the event is highly likely to take place on July 26 at the Coex convention center in southern Seoul.

If the rumored date is confirmed to be true, it is earlier than usual considering that Samsung’s new foldable phones have been launched in August.

Sources say advancing the date could affect the company’s third-quarter earnings positively as the tech giant’s overall sales are likely to suffer in the coming months due to falling chip prices.

Samsung has been leading the foldable phone market since it rolled out its first foldable device, the Galaxy Fold, in 2019. According to market tracker Display Supply Chain Consultants, its market share stood at 45 percent in the January-March period.

“Samsung not only pioneered the foldable phone category, but also made them mainstream, with their popularity growing globally,” Samsung’s mobile chief Roh Tae-moon said in a recent press conference held in Vietnam.

Despite a stagnant smartphone market, global shipments of foldable phones continue to grow. This year their shipments are expected to reach 22 million units, a 50 percent jump from a year ago, according to market research firm International Data Corporation. During the same period, overall smartphone shipments are expected to suffer a 1.1 percent decrease to 1.19 billion units.

Competition is also heating up in the foldable phone market, which has emerged as a future growth driver in the smartphone industry. Chinese smartphone makers have also followed Samsung’s footsteps by making an entry into the market. This month, US tech giant Google is set to release its foldable phone the Pixel Fold, while Samsung’s archrival Apple is also rumored to be working on its own foldable phone.