Samsung Semiconductor, one of the many businesses inside Samsung, really only supplies its Exynos chipsets to Samsung for its smartphones. However, according to a report out of Reuters, that may be changing rather soon. According to the report, Samsung is currently in talks to add more clients to its list. Right now, only Meizu uses Exynos chipsets aside from Samsung. This move, would put Samsung in closer competition with Qualcomm, which supplies chipsets to the majority of smartphones on the market right now.
There is really only one name on this list of companies that Samsung is approaching about using Exynos chipsets, and that's ZTE. Not a surprising name, seeing as ZTE has been banned from using American-made smartphone parts for seven years after it violated terms of a settlement deal after it was caught selling products with American parts to Iran and North Korea. This has forced ZTE to look to diversify its suppliers, and Samsung Semiconductor could be at the top of the list. Currently, Samsung is behind Qualcomm and Apple, as far as processors go. Qualcomm essentially owns the market, especially in regions that still use CDMA technology for making phone calls - like the US. Samsung's Exynos chipsets are only number three now because of how popular Samsung's own devices are in the market. The Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus both run on Exynos chipsets except for in a few larger markets like the US.
Qualcomm stated that it does expect to post some losses after losing ZTE's business, around three cents per share on the next quarterly earnings. That's because ZTE is (or was) the fourth largest manufacturer in North America, which needs to use Qualcomm chipsets for CDMA technologies. And with ZTE effectively leaving the US, and looking for another partner, it's not going to be a good thing for Qualcomm, but it could help Samsung get more clients on-board for its Exynos chipsets. Qualcomm is also facing many other competitors right now in the SoC space, including Huawei's HiSilicon, NVIDIA, MediaTek and even Samsung - who actually manufacturers Qualcomm's high-end chipsets. None of this is actually confirmed yet, and are just reports, so take it all with a grain of salt.