Apple is likely to add China’s BOE to its iPhone supply chain following Japan’s restrictions on exports of display materials to Korea.
Chinese IT industry media outlets reported on July 10 that Apple has contacted BOE to see if the Chinese company could supply panels to it. Apple is apparently concerned about the possibility of Samsung Display’s production of OLED panels for smartphones being disrupted due to Japan’s regulation on exports of materials for panels to Korea. Currently, OLED panels for the iPhone are supplied exclusively by Samsung Display.
The items under export control of the Japanese government include fluorine polyimide and etching gas (high purity hydrogen fluoride) that are used for production of TV and smartphone panels. If Samsung Display’s OLED panel production is disrupted due to a lack of the two items, it will have a direct negative impact on iPhone shipments.
If Apple chooses BOE as its new panel supplier, it will negatively affect LG Display, which is pushing to supply OLED panels for the iPhone. If BOE is chosen as a new panel supplier, LG Display’s supply volume is likely to decrease. Industry experts say, however, that it remains to be seen whether BOE panels pass Apple's rigorous quality tests.