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China Surges Past South Korea In Small-Medium OLED Panels Production

BOE Technology OLED panels

China has for the very time blown past South Korea in the production of small-to-medium OLED panels.

In Q1 2024, Chinese companies accounted for 53.4 per cent of the global small-to-medium OLED market in units, up from 44.9 per cent in Q4 2023, reported Flatpanels HD.

During the same period, the share of South Korean companies in the OLED production market fell sharply from 55.1 per cent to 46.6%, according to Sino Research.

While China has crossed Korea in small-to-medium OLED production in the first quarter of this year, Samsung Display still leads the segment with a 41 per cent market share (down from 53.5 per cent last year). Also, South Korea’s LG Display and Samsung Display continue to dominate within the OLED TV panel production sector.

South Korea has already fallen behind in the LCD production market with LCD production increasingly being taken over by Chinese display makers such as TCL CSOT and BOE.

Now, it seems that LG Display and Samsung Display are also starting to see their dominance in the OLED production industry weaken at the expense of the Chinese who are investing billions to advance in this space.

This week, China’s Visionox announced a new 8.6-generation A$11.45 billion OLED plant. Located in the eastern Chinese province of Hefei, it will produce the latest 2,620-millimeter by 2,290-mm substrates, known as 8.6-generation technology. Production capacity will be 32,000 substrates per month.

While Visionox, which has OLED panel plants in Hebei and Anhui provinces, comes in fourth place in global share for the panels by value in 2023 at 5 per cent, it ranks third globally in OLED panels for smartphones, trailing Samsung and BOE, with a worldwide market share of 10 per cent in 2023, according to Chinese research firm Sigmaintell.

China’s BOE Technology Group is also ramping up its efforts within the OLED production sector. In March this year, construction commenced on a site close to Chengdu where a A$13.1 billion factory will make OLED panels for notebooks and tablets using the 8.6 technology. “We’ll build the world’s most advanced and largest production base for midsize OLED panels,” Chairman Chen Yanshun said at the groundbreaking ceremony, reported Nikkei Asia.

Also, Japan Display is hoping to establish a 8.7G OLED plant in China, while TCL CSOT is exploring OLED panel production but has yet to commit to a major investment.

The South Koreans are taking steps to ensure they don’t fall behind. Samsung Display is currently building an 8.6G OLED plant intended for IT devices and plans to commence mass production in 2026.

Although LG Display hasn’t publicly committed to 8.6G IT OLED production, it is reportedly making progress around an investment in this space.

The demand for OLEDs is skyrocketing. Last year, Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC) forecast that OLEDs will replace LCDs and make up 75 per cent of the high-end IT market by 2026, including monitors, tablets, and laptops.

Also, Apple recently announced its new iPad Pro which for the very first time features an OLED screen. The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra features an OLED screen too.

As ChannelNews reported earlier today, Samsung Display will be the supplier of OLED panels for all four new upcoming iPhone 16 smartphones. However, BOE is also in the supply mix for the display screens. LG Display will supply some panels for the two Pro models. In the past LG Display had earned a reputation of not being able to deliver the capacity that Apple needed.

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