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OLED Supply Struggles Against Growing Demand

According to a report from DigiTimes, a sizeable gap between supply and global demand for OLED panels will play a major role in shaping the ability of smaller players to compete with giants Apple and Samsung.

The report says that 70% of the 75 million OLED panel being produced by Samsung Display in 2017 will be tapped by Apple and Samsung and that other smartphone players will be constrained by the limited access to the high-end display panels.

Huawei in particular looks to be facing down major issues, with Digitimes saying the Chinese smartphone player “will have only 8% of its total production of smartphones featuring AMOLED panels in 2017 due to an insufficient supply of the panels.”

Other Chinese players Oppo and Vivo look to be in a slightly stronger position, securing 13% and 10% of global production via guaranteed purchase agreements with Samsung Display.

While LG’s Display branch and BOE Technology also produce OLED panels, sourced indicated to Digitimes that the two would be unable to help meet demand until 2018 at the earliest.

At present, Samsung is estimated to account for 95% of OLED displays for smartphones.

Most smartphone vendors have made the switch from LCD displays to AMOLED displays in recent years due the premium gains in picture quality and battery efficiency the display technology offers.

Apple’s manufacturing partner Foxconn recently acquired technology company Sharp with the goal of setting up a new OLED production plant. However, the new plant isn’t expected to begin production until 2019.

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