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Some have touted the Royole FlexPai, priced at $1,300, as a potentially revolutionary product akin to early iPhones. (Photo by Yoshiyuki Tamai)
Startups in Asia

China startup undercuts Samsung, Huawei foldables

Questions over quality may limit Royole's $1300 FlexPai

COCO LIU and CHENG TING-FANG, Nikkei staff writers | China

BARCELONA, Spain/LAS VEGAS, U.S. -- For a relatively unknown Chinese startup, Royole has been attracting a lot of attention. The Shenzhen-based manufacturer of flexible displays stunned the smartphone industry last autumn when it beat giants Samsung Electronics and Huawei Technologies to launch the world's first commercialized foldable phone.

At this week's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Samsung and Huawei made all the noise with their $2,000 foldable phones. But it was only at Royole's stand that visitors had the chance to touch and play with the industry's most significant innovation in years. Samsung's Galaxy Fold and Huawei's Mate X, sleeker and significantly more costly than Royole's $1,300 FlexPai, were kept securely locked away in glass cases.

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