LG Innotek to invest close to US$1 Billion in new Camera Module Plant in Vietnam for iPhone Cameras including Folded Zoom modules
It's being reported this morning that LG Innotek announced earlier today that it would invest 1.3 trillion won (US$995 Million) in its Hai Phong production subsidiary in Vietnam to expand its camera module production line. The purpose is to expand the production capacity of camera modules such as Apple's iPhone.
The investment period is from next month to December 2025. LG Innotek announced that it will carry out new investment in a way that the Vietnamese production corporation directly invests. Hai Phong City supports the installation of additional substations for power expansion and tax benefits. The new plant in Vietnam aims to be completed in the second half of 2024 and start mass production in 2025.
LG Innotek said, "The domestic camera module plant plans to focus on producing high value-added camera modules and optical components for new applications."
Recently, Chinese company Cowell is expected to increase the portion of Apple's iPhone camera module supply chain. This is because Sharp does not produce iPhone camera modules after the iPhone 15 series this year. If LG Innotek increases camera module production at its Vietnam plant, it will be able to secure cost competitiveness compared to Cowell, which has a plant in China.
Cowell is expected to aim to supply general (wide-angle/telephoto) cameras, ToF (Time of Flight), and folded zoom modules that go into the back of the iPhone in the future. However, because the rear camera module is more difficult to manufacture than the front product, and the technical difficulty of ToF and folded zoom modules is high, Cowell may experience difficulties in the beginning. Cowell has been supplying front-facing camera modules.
The Elec report added that LG Innotek has significantly increased its share of the Apple camera module market in recent years due to the sluggish performance of Sharp. LG Innotek's market share is particularly high in high-end models such as ToF and folded zoom modules.
If Sharp is eliminated, Apple's camera module suppliers will be reduced from four to three: LG Innotek, Foxconn, and Cowell. It is known that Foxconn, which is an iPhone manufacturer and also makes camera modules, has a market share of around 10% for Apple's camera modules.
It is known that Apple plans to apply folded zoom to one Pro Max in this year’s iPhone 15 series and to two Pro and Pro Max models in next year’s iPhone 16 series.