Chinese display makers started to go ahead of Korean companies in the large LCD market share with China's No. 1 displayer maker BOE taking the lead. China is heralding a clear sign to catch up with their Korean rivals in the advanced organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs) market where Korean companies enjoy a market share of 95%.
According to market researcher IHS Markit on October 1, BOE came in first with 13.32 million LCD panel (over 9 inches) shipments in August. BOE was followed by LG Display (1,191,000 units), Taiwan’s Innolux (1,022,000 units), Taiwan’s AOU (1,030,000 units) and Samsung Display (5,461,000 units). Overall shipments totaled 62.3 million units, up 6.6 percent from July.
LG Display claimed first place in the February to June period and lost first place it to BOE for two consecutive months in July and August. It seems that BOE recently started to produce 8.5-generation products on a full scale. As additional production lines are expected to put to work in the future, BOE's first place will be further cemented. China rose to the top of the world by outclassing Taiwan for the first time in shipments of large LCD TVs in July.
China's share is still expanding mainly in the LCD sector. Korean companies are focusing on premium products such as ultra-high-resolution (UHD) and 55-inch and larger products rather than general-purpose products in response to China’s expansion of production. In addition, China is in a hurry to switch from LCDs to OLEDs.
The problem is that in the OLED field, China is expected to fuel its pursuit of Korea in the near future. BOE plans to ship flexible OLED products for smartphones at its Chengdu plant in China this month. This is the first time that a Chinese company produces OLED products for smartphones on a full scale. The global OLED market for smartphones is dominated by Samsung Display with an over 95% market share and BOE began to try to break this monopoly.
It is also a disadvantage for Korean companies that US Apple competing with Samsung for finished products and relying on Samsung for parts is likely to support Chinese companies to diversify their suppliers. Apple is adopting OLED displays in the iPhone X, which is scheduled to be released in November and at the moment has no choice but to rely on Samsung Display. Apple is trying to lower its reliance on Samsung to such an extent that Apple proposed investing in OLED technology development by LG Display and JDI.