Volume production of large organic light emitting diode (OLED) panels at LG Display’s newly completed Guangzhou Factory in China is likely to be postponed to next year, display industry insiders forecast.
LG Display started to operate the plant in August, which was a delay from the originally planned first half of this year.
Industry watchers say that the yield of the multi model glass (MMG) process, which is used for volume production of OLED panels in the Guangzhou plant, still remains well below 90 percent. MMG produces panels of various sizes simultaneously on mother glass. This method can elevate the yield of a production line from the current 50 percent to 60 percent to the 90 percent level.
"It's too late to start mass-production at the end of the first half of next year," said LG Display president Chung Ho-young, referring to when to begin volume production panels, in a recent meeting with reporters. He suggested that volume production will begin after the first quarter of next year.
Chung is expected to explain more details about the Guangzhou fab at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to be held soon.
The postponement of mass production at LC Display's Guangzhou plant may give Chinese companies opportunities to narrow their gaps with LG Display, some experts say. China's third largest display company, HKC, is building a large 8.6th-generation OLED production line in Hunan Province of China with the goal of completing it in 2021. If HKC easily achieves a ramp-up following early completion, the gap in mass production will be narrowed to at least six months, they forecast.
China's largest display maker BOE, which established an 8th-generation pilot line for OLED TV research in Hefei of China in February 2017, is also mulling over when to start mass-production. It has recently released prototypes. Earlier this month, BOE demonstrated a 55-inch 8K OLED TV panel produced through inkjet printing during its technology conference. This means that BOE had made great strides since taking the wraps off a 4K resolution product.
It is also good news to Chinese companies that LCD panel prices stopped falling as Korean display makers have been actively cutting LCD panel production. The price of a 65-inch LCD panel remained at US$160 in November. It stopped falling in October. "Even though the Chinese government’s subsidies are on the decline, rising LCD panel prices will allow Chinese companies to switch to OLED panels without suffering from a price war as long as China takes control of the LCD panel market," a Korean display industry official said.