According to industry sources on Oct. 17, there has been a series of foreign news reports that Foxconn and its newly acquired Japanese subsidiary Sharp will invest 200 billion yen (US$1.92 billion or 2.19 trillion won) to establish a plant producing OLED panels for mobile devices in China. However, South Korean firms assume a disinterested attitude.
Foreign media reported that the small and mid-size OLED plant of Foxconn and Sharp in China will begin mass production in 2019. Previously, Sharp decided to invest 57.4 billion yen (US$551.13 million or 628.56 billion won) to build a prototype OLED production line at its Sakai plant in Mie Prefecture, Japan, at the board meeting last month. The latest decision of Foxconn and Sharp to invest to build the small and mid-size OLED plant in China is part of their efforts to catch up with Korean firms that monopolize the market.
However, Samsung Display, which has a 95 percent share in the small and mid-size OLED market, said, “These are still just press reports and there have already been rumors that Chinese firms will invest in OLED production. So, this is nothing new to talk about.”
LG Display, which started investing in small and mid-size OLED panels last year, also said that it is too early for Foxconn and Sharp to become competitors in the small and mid-size OLED sector.
An official from LG Display said, “We have already secured the mass production technology in the small and mid-size OLED sector through the G Flex, and we are now expanding the production scale. As Foxconn is just about to start the development of mass production in terms of the OLED technology, the company is expected to struggle to develop the mass production technology by 2019 for at least one to two years. Foxconn can probably begin mass production and get a jump start on the competition after 2020.”
The majority of industry watchers also believes that it will take a long time for Foxconn and Sharp to settle in the small and mid-size OLED market considering the fact that Samsung and LG took more than 10 years to research and develop the OLED mass production technologies.