LG Electronics was using mostly Chinese companies for the majority of the batteries that powers its smartphones this year, TheElec confirmed Tuesday.
It has used Amperex Technology Limited (ATL) and BYD before but has recently added Lishen Battery as a vendor, sources within the company said.
China-made batteries were also mostly used for low- to mid-tier models before but LG was now using them for high-tier models such as LG V50 ThinQ and LG Velvet, they said.
This was due to LG's cost-cutting efforts as well as the Korean company’s expanded use of Chinese original design makers (ODM) for the contract production of some models. LG Electronics currently uses Chinese companies Wingtech, Huaqin, Longcheer and CNCE as ODMs. Using China-made batteries are more convenient for these companies.
LG Electronics has previously preferred South Korean vendors such as Bosung Electronics for battery-related processes. These companies would handle processes such as adding protecting circuit on batteries.
In the pat, even when LG Electronics wasn’t using battery cells from sister company LG Chem, it would give other related processes to local vendors.
The wider use of Chinese vendors by LG Electronics have hurt LG Chem’s small-sized polymer business in recent years. According to market research firm B3, LG Chem’s market share in small-sized batteries declined to 19.5% in 2019 from 21.3% in 2018.
LG Chem has, in turn, secured Samsung Electronics’ mobile business as a client. It has been producing battery cells mostly for low- to mid-tier models but its goods has recently been selected for flagship models as well, starting with last year’s Galaxy S10. LG Chem has supplied batteries for Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy S20, and is likely to be a supplier for the upcoming Galaxy Note 20.
LG Chem is also eyeing new Chinese clients. It formed a joint venture last year with Veken Technology in China to make polymer batteries for smart devices.