Samsung mobile chief visited the US to ask for more chips, got rejected

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus Back Purple

Credit: Robert Triggs / Android Authority
  • Samsung’s mobile chief apparently made two trips to the US to secure more chipset volume.
  • It’s claimed that an unnamed global chipmaker refused Samsung’s request.

The global chip shortage is hurting plenty of smartphone brands, with companies like Google being forced to restrict launches to specific countries, the likes of Realme delaying launches into 2022, and Samsung apparently postponing the Galaxy S21 FE launch as a result.

Now, The Elec reports that the situation became so dire for Samsung that mobile chief TM Roh made two trips to the US earlier this year to ask an unnamed global chipmaker (presumably Qualcomm) for more processors. Sources told the outlet that Roh made a trip in March and another in July to request more chips, but it’s claimed that Roh’s request was denied.

“The global application processor maker had told the Samsung president that they wished to increase overall supply too, but couldn’t increase the supply to the South Korean tech giant alone,” the outlet wrote.

More reading: Everything you need to know about Samsung phones

The Elec‘s sources further claimed that Roh was joined by a vice-president in charge of overseeing component purchases during the second trip. It’s believed that the vice-president was told to only return to South Korea when the situation was resolved. The executive purportedly returned after three months in the US. It was also claimed that Roh “harshly” admonished another executive associated with component purchases.

The sources added that it was “highly unusual” for Samsung’s request to be turned down given its size in the industry. But they pointed to Samsung’s increased dependence on ODMs for some phone lines as a reason for weakened purchasing power, as these contract phone makers typically source their own components.

A company representative told the outlet that the trips weren’t fruitless, saying that Samsung was able to secure “some” volume as a result.

Either way, the global chip shortage is showing that even a top-tier company like Samsung can’t pull any favors from major chipmaking partners. And it suggests that there could be more to the rumors of the Galaxy S21 FE’s delayed or potentially canceled launch. Things might not get easier in 2022 at first, as AMD CEO Lisa Su reportedly said the shortage will only ease in the second half of 2022.

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