The penetration of Chinese and Japanese firms into the global OLED display market, which is dominated by Korean companies, is threatening Korean industry.
According to industry sources on Jan. 27, China-based EverDisplay Optronics and Tianma are going to mass produce small and mid-sized OLED panels this year. BOE Technology, the largest panel supplier in China, and Japanese firm JOLED have also started large-scale investment in the mass production of OLED panels.
EverDisplay Optronics is the first Chinese panel maker that is seeking to mass produce OLED displays. The company is scheduled to produce full HD AMOLED panels used in smartphones in the first quarter of this year, and more improved WQHD AMOLED panels in Q3 2015. Tianma is reportedly planning to start mass producing small to mid-sized OLED panels in around Q3. The Chinese firm began to construct a 5.5-generation LTPS OLED production facility in Shanghai in January 2014.
BOE Technology and China Star Optoelectronics Technology (CSOT) are also drawing a lot of attention, since they are aggressively seeking to make a large-scale investment in OLED panels. In October 2014, BOE announced a plan to inject 22 billion yuan (US$3.6 billion) in its LTPS OLED production facility. CSOT, on the other hand, is said to be planning to invest in an 8th-generation oxide OLED panel line in Shenzhen and a 6-gen LTPS OLED line in Wuhan.
JOLED, which was jointly established by Sony, Panasonic, Japan Display, and the Innovation Network Corporation of Japan, began full-scale investment in an OLED facility this year. According to overseas media outlets, JOLED is scheduled to inject 70 to 80 billion yen (US$592 to $677 million) by 2016 to develop OLED panels. The Japanese display maker is also planning to ship panels for laptops starting in 2017.
In addition, there has been widespread speculation that Apple's supplier Foxconn has started preparations to mass produce OLED panels. Apple has reportedly decided to adopt OLED displays manufactured by Foxconn in its next iPhone. Foxconn is said to be planning to build a plant for OLED panels to meet the demand.
A full-scale investment in OLED production facilities by Chinese and Japanese companies is actually threatening two Korean firms, which dominate the global OLED panel market. Samsung Display has virtually dominated the market for OLED panels used in small to mid-sized devices such as smartphones and tablet PCs. LG Display, on the other hand, has led the OLED panel market for TVs.