Chinese companies are actively seeking to enter the AMOLED market. Although they are not technologically advanced yet, they are expected to target the mid-range and low-cost smartphone markets based on their price competitiveness. Thus, much attention is being paid to how Korean firms such as Samsung Electronics will respond.
According to the Export-Import Bank of Korea and news outlets in China on April 30, several Chinese firms have recently decided to mass produce AMOLED panels. To date, the AMOLED panel market is dominated by Samsung with more than 90 percent share. However, as Chinese manufacturers are increasing their market share with mid to low-end smartphones, the Chinese display industry is likely to grow as well.
Shanghai-based EverDisplay Optronics produced prototypes of 5.5 inch and 6 inch AMOLED panels of a 4.5-gen line last year, and is scheduled to mass produce 15,000 units a month later this year. Chinese panel producers BOE Display and Visionox are also considering building a production line for AMOLED panels smaller than 10 inches and supplying those small displays in the future.
Industry analysts in China are saying that although there is still a gap between local panel makers and Samsung Display in manufacturing output and quality, Chinese firms are more likely to have a competitive advantage in price over Samsung. Moreover, if Chinese mobile phone makers supply a large number of entry-level and mid-range smartphones, the economy of scale will be realized, and the unit price of those phones is predicted to be further lowered.
Visionox says that it is building a production line by hiring experts from various countries including Korea, the US, and Taiwan, and thus there are no problems with the mass production and quality of their products.
However, news organizations in China caution that if the low and mid-range areas of the smartphone market are not expanded, current facilities could become over-invested. In addition, cooperation with related enterprises is said to be necessary to expand the market, since the market is still in its early stages.
In the meantime, research firm Strategy Analytics reported on April 30 that Samsung made up 31.2 percent of the global smartphone market in the first quarter of this year, a 1.2 percent year-on-year drop. Apple’s market share also decreased 2.2 percent year-on-year to reach 15.3 percent in Q1. On the other hand, Chinese Android device manufacturer Huawei accounted for 4.7 percent of the market, maintaining a similar level from a year ago. Like Huawei, Lenovo became the third-largest smartphone manufacturer with a global market share of 4.7 percent, a year-on-year increase of 0.5 percent.