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Global AI smartphone shipments to boost Co, Li demand

  • : Metals
  • 24/05/24

Global shipments of artificial intelligence (AI) smartphones will more than double this year, according to US firm International Data Corporation (IDC), in a potential boost to demand for battery metals such as cobalt and lithium.

IDC forecasts that shipments of next-generation AI smartphones will hit 170mn units this year, more than double last year's level, to account for almost 15pc of total smartphone shipments.

Cobalt and lithium are used in the production of lithium-ion battery cathodes for smartphones. "This AI development, if it proves to be enough revolutionary, is likely to encourage people to change their phones earlier and then bolster cobalt and lithium demand," a China-based market participant said.

About 30pc of cobalt and 7pc of global lithium production is consumed in the consumer electronics industry.

Some phone manufacturers have released or outlined plans to release AI smartphones in the future. Chinese phone company Meizu on 16 May released its FlymeAIOS operating system and Meizu 21 Note phone, which provide generative AI capabilities. South Korea's Samsung has deployed Google's generative AI technology Gemini Nano in its Galaxy S24 series smartphones, which were released early this year. Other Chinese phone manufacturers Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo and Huawei have also developed phones that run on-device AI.

Shipments of AI smartphones are expected to rise to 550mn units globally in 2027, making up more than 40pc of total phone shipments, according to industry estimates.

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