SEOUL, KOREA - The global display market has undergone substantial change in recent years. Japan’s Sharp fell out of the top five manufacturers in terms of volume of large screen display, while China’s BOE moved up to fifth place for the first time. Analysts noted that China’s display companies are fast increasing their global market shares, and predicted that China will hold a 20% market share by 2014.
The Chinese display industry has been expanding on the back of the government’s huge investment in the technology. Highly capital-intensive industries such as LCD display require billions of dollars in terms of investment. As these industries are not able to yield profits in the short term, the government has elected to foster the industries at the national level. Recently, the Chongqing municipal government supported BOE’s launching an 8.5-generation line worth 32.8 billion yuan. Last year, the company turned a net profit with 250 million yuan, emerging from the red, by reportedly securing technologies through the recruitment of key engineers from Taiwan and Korea.
China’s advancement in the display market will also be on display in the coming International Meeting on Information Display (IMID), which will take place in Daegu from August 26 to 29 this year. One of keynote speakers will be Wang Dongsheng, chairman of BOE Technology. The other is Han Sang-beom, CEO of LG Display. The number of BOE’s paper (39) submissions was the highest of any company thus far, followed by Samsung Display (15), and LG Display (12).
The hottest issues in this year’s IMID will again be OLED. LG Display was the first company to invest in mass production of OLED TVs. In February, they unveiled their plan to invest a further 700 billion won, a scale capable of producing 26,000 models a month for 8 generation (2200X2500mm) glass substrate. If this line is in operation early next year, the company will be able to produce diverse sized and designed panels. LG Display is expected to produce extra-large and ultra-definition panels at this production line.
Samsung Display has recently confirmed RGB for the evaporation, and LTPS process for substrate for mass production. Analysts say that the company decided to set up the assembly line to manufacture AM OLED for 6 generations (1500X1850mm). The production capacity is said to review 20,000 models per month, allowing the panel production for both TV and mobile. 6 generation line is capable of producing two 55-inch TV panels, or dozens of mobile panels. Samsung is expected to place orders within this year.
The ultimate goal of developing OLED is to mass produce flexible display. LG Electronics recently announced that “Plastic OLED smartphones are expected to launch in the fourth quarter of this year.” Samsung’s smartphones featuring curved OLED panels are highly likely to be released this year. Samsung Display has a flexible OLED production system in place for 24,000 per month in its A2 5.5 generation line. It is capable of producing nearly 1.92 million flexible OLED panels for smartphones.
Chinese and Taiwanese display industries, which account for the largest contribution to the LCD market, are also spurring the development of OLED. Taiwan’s AUO also recently unveiled its 65-inch OLED TV panels, and China’s BOE has demonstrated its willingness to mass produce OLED TV panels utilizing oxide TFT (Thin Film Transistor). BOE is establishing a pilot line for 8th generation (B5 line) in Hefei, China.
“China’s local governments have made huge investments in the display industry. China’s LCD display industry is currently facing a 1-2 year technology gap with Korea’s, while the technology gap in OLED technology extends further to five years difference. However, within ten years China will begin to dominate the display market in its entirety. They are hiring talented engineers from Taiwan and paying them high salaries. The Korean display market should move towards developing more high-end technologies such as flexible OLED and printing electronics.” Jang Jin, professor of Kyung Hee University and general chair of IMID 2013.