Samsung seeks to narrow its gap with Sony in the global image sensor market

Sony and Samsung currently lead the global market for CMOS image sensors, with the Japanese rival holding a slight edge

Samsung Electronics Co. is seeking to narrow its gap with Japanese rival Sony Corp. in the global image sensor market, industry watchers said on 10 May, as the segment is set to post sharp growth down the road on rising demand from smartphones and security solutions.

The logo of Samsung Electronics is seen at its office building in Seoul, South Korea. Image: Reuters

The logo of Samsung Electronics is seen at its office building in Seoul, South Korea. Reuters.

Industry tracker IC Insights estimated the annual sales of a complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) image sensor at $13.7 billion in 2018, up 10 percent from 2017.

The figure is anticipated to reach a whopping $19 billion in 2022, Yonhap news agency reported."CMOS designs keep improving for a variety of light levels, high-speed imaging, and greater resolution as well as integrating more functions for specific applications, such as security video cameras, machine vision in robots and cars, human recognition, hand-gesture interfaces, virtual-augmented reality, and medical systems," IC Insights was quoted as saying.

"In new smartphones, CMOS image sensors are also seeing a new wave of growth with the increase of dual-lens camera systems for enhanced photography," the tracker added.

Sony and Samsung currently lead the global market for CMOS image sensors, with the Japanese rival holding a slight edge. In 2016, Sony and Samsung took up 25.6 percent and 22.6 percent of the market, respectively.

The two companies held 28.3 percent and 25.4 percent, respectively, in 2017.

SK hynix Inc., Samsung's another South Korean rival, accounted for roughly eight to nine percent over the cited period.

Industry watchers, however, claimed that Sony takes up 50 percent of the market in terms of sales, hovering far above Samsung's 20 percent.

Samsung launched its image sensor brand named ISOCELL in June 2017, in an apparent bid to catch up to Sony's Exmor products.




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