Samsung is the largest chip maker in the world, but until now the company has been mainly developing chipsets for its own devices and has provided services to other companies for proprietary models (Apple is a Samsung customer, e.g). Starting in 2019, the company plans to offer Exynos chipsets for sale to other device manufacturers, including ZTE, the company no longer allowed to use US components
In the past, Samsung has offered Exynos chipsets to Meizu and Lenovo, which have launched some mid-range models equipped with them. Since Meizu is not a very large producer, Samsung probably just delivered the surplus from production, but from 2019 the company will produce special chips to be sold to partners. In the case of Lenovo, this understanding was probably a test to see what Samsung can do
Already the company is in talks with several companies that produce smartphones that might be interested in diversifying the offer, mostly using Qualcomm chipsets or MediaTek. Since ZTE is no longer allowed to use US components for seven years and Taiwan has started an own investigation to decide whether to allow its companies to work with it, Samsung seems to be the ideal solution right now.
Samsung is a Korean company that develops its own technology, while South Korea and North Korea have started diplomatic talks just weeks ago to conclude a peace agreement. Thus, restrictions to North Korea could be weakened, and ZTE could still deliver devices to this country, especially if they are based on components in South Korea.
The only problem that ZTE should solve is software, because Android is also an American technology and in theory it is not allowed to use it anymore. Samsung revealed that in the first half of 2019 it will unveil its first partner for the Exynos chipsets. It is not clear when the first devices will be available on the market