Smart­phone screen re­place­ment presents big dilemma

China Daily (USA) - - BUSINESS - By WU YUNHE Con­tact the writer at wuyunhe@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Istill re­mem­ber that the Nokia mo­bile phone I used about five years ago was so solid that its screen never broke, de­spite the fact that I ac­ci­den­tally dropped it on the ground many times.

I miss my Nokia mo­bile be­cause the screen of my cur­rent smart­phone, a Sam­sung A8000, was bro­ken re­cently when I ac­ci­den­tally dropped it on the floor at home. It costme 780 yuan ($117) to re­place the bro­ken screen.

Al­though I had fixed a pro­tec­tive film to the 5.7-inch phone screen, this proved in­ef­fec­tive as the screen was so eas­ily bro­ken that the dis­play in­stantly turned to­tally black.

A cost of more than 700 yuan to re­place the screen of the A8000 is too high for me. The cost of the screen is ac­tu­ally only about 300 yuan, ac­cord­ing to my on­line re­search.

I went to the Sam­sung-des­ig­nated main­te­nance cen­ter near my home in Bei­jing the first time my smart­phone was bro­ken. When I asked the re­cep­tion­ist if I could get a new screen for my bro­ken A8000, she sim­ply said “no” with­out any hes­i­ta­tion.

But she then added, “or you can leave your smart­phone here and wait at least half a month, be­cause it takes that much time for us to or­der a new screen for your mo­bile from a Sam­sung fac­tory in Tian­jin”.

“A re­place­ment of A8000 screen will cost 650 yuan,” she said.

At that time I was very dis­ap­pointed leav­ing the main­te­nance cen­ter, be­cause it was dif­fi­cult to imag­ine a day with­out a mo­bile phone, and just how in­con­ve­nient that would be for me.

So, af­ter leav­ing the Sam­sung-des­ig­nated ser­vice sta­tion I had to go to a nearby pri­vately run mo­bile phone main­te­nance ser­vice.

The tech­ni­cian said he could re­place my mo­bile phone at a cost of 780 yuan, how­ever, the only A8000 screen he had avail­able was a black one, al­though my phone was white.

He com­plained that the profit mar­gin of re­plac­ing an A8000 screen was so thin due to the high cost of the AMOLED screen.

“Re­plac­ing the screen of a Huawei Maimang 4 screen costs only 550 yuan be­cause the hand­set is equipped with a 5.5-inch LCD dis­play,” he added.

Al­though he could not con­vince me, what the tech­ni­cian said was not en­tirely ground­less.

At present, mar­ket de­mand for smart­phone parts and com­po­nents is huge in China as the coun­try has now more than 1.3 bil­lion smart­phone users.

Chi­nese com­pa­nies that are in­volved in parts and com­po­nents man­u­fac­tur­ing have de­vel­oped very rapidly in re­cent years.

For ex­am­ple, Lens Tech­nolo­gies, founded in 2003 and one of the coun­try’s largest smart­phone screen sup­pli­ers, earned rev­enue of 5.66 bil­lion yuan in the first six months of this year, al­though this was down 34.66 per­cent year-onyear.

Ac­cord­ing to the 2015 Hu­run re­port, Shen­zhen-based Lens’ founder Zhou Qun­fei was the coun­try’s rich­est busi­ness­woman, with per­sonal wealth in ex­cess of 50 bil­lion yuan.

Lens’ cor­po­rate cus­tomers in­clude Ap­ple Inc and Huawei Tech­nolo­gies Co.

Be­cause of the huge prof­its to be made from smart­phone parts and com­po­nent man­u­fac­tur­ing, Sam­sung Elec­tron­ics still pro­duces AMOLED screens for its smart­phones in house, as well as for more than 20 global smart­phone brands.

The Sam­gung A8000 I bought a year ago cost me about 3,000 yuan, but re­plac­ing a dis­play screen needs an­other in­vest­ment of about 26 per­cent of the hand­set’ s price.

So, might it be a good choice for a hand­set user to buy anew one with­out both­er­ing to re­pair it if the cost is not a prob­lem for them? I won­der whether this is a re­sult that many smart­phone pro­duc­ers are happy to see.

A JING / FOR CHINA DAILY

A vis­i­tor in­quires about a Sam­sung smart­phone at an in­ter­na­tional tele­com expo in Bei­jing.

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