Advantages in performance, thinness and flexibility are attractingChina’s TFT-LCD suppliers to invest in the production of OLED displays, with major players pushing the boundaries further toward active-matrix kinds. They are banking on the surge in overall requirement based on the country’s projected shipments in the months ahead. From 66.3 million units in 2012, the volume will reach 165 million by end-2015, according to CCID Consulting.
Compared with TFT LCDs, the category boasts high resolution and self-illuminating attributes. The latter feature eliminates the need and cost for backlighting, and results in slimmer and bendable forms. For this reason, uptake in portable electronics, particularly smartphones, has been on the rise. Globally, 261.2 million displays for the handset type were dispatched in 2013, exceeding 2012’s level by at least 50 percent, said DisplaySearch. InChina, more than 70 percent of deliveries are for smartphones.
To enhance their selections dominated by passive-matrix variants, local makers are building up the AMOLED segment. The latter surpasses PMOLED rivals in terms of response time, contrast ratio, vivid colors and viewing angle
Flexible AMOLED displays are another objective on the agenda of major local companies as these have a rapidly expanding market. Growth in sales value by end-2015 is estimated to exceed 300 percent, reaching $94.8 million from $21.9 million in 2013, according to IHS iSuppli. The first from the mainland came from Visionox, which released a 3.5in model in early 2014.
The mainland AMOLED maker pool will remain a minority, owing to the steep cost of acquiring new manufacturing and testing equipment from abroad or converting existing TFT-LCD lines. Besides this challenge, mainland companies face stiff competition from foreign players led by Samsung. The last represents more than 90 percent of sales in this subcategory
The main materials and components used in OLED display manufacture include ITO film, polarizers, chips and UV adhesive. Makers usually obtain the first three from foreign providers, although there are now homegrown companies such as Wuhu Token for ITO film and Silan Microelectronics for chips. They hope to benefit from broader input sourcing options in years to come as localization upstream accelerates.
Overall,South Koreamakers continue to dominate the OLED display market with a share exceeding 50 percent. The other key international players includeTaiwan’s RiTDisplay, andJapan’s TDK and Pioneer.