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Is TCL, Sony, Panasonic Deal A Threat To LG, OLED Dominance

Weeks after Panasonic pulled out of the Australian TV market and as Sony struggles to supply retailers with TV’s Chinese TV company has moved to get into bed with Japanese brands Sony and Panasonic as opposed to another Chinese brand

The deal is via a joint venture known as JOLED which was formed in 2015 by combining Panasonic’s and Sony’s OLED display development divisions under the guidance of Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry could be a threat to LG’s OLED dominance.

According to Nikki Asia the TCL Technology Group, billed as the fastest-growing TV brand in the U.S and the second biggest TV brand behind Samsung will invest A$271 million in JOLED, the Japanese display maker created from the organic light-emitting diode operations of Panasonic and Sony, in an effort to develop mass production technology for large television panels within three years.

JOLED will be more than 10%-owned by TCL display-manufacturing unit TCL China Star Optoelectronics Technology after receiving a private placement of new shares.

The Chinese company will also lend the Tokyo-based display maker 10 billion yen to cover capital investments needed for prototype-panel production.

The joint venture will bring its proprietary printed OLED manufacturing technology and will start joint-development of large-sized OLEDs for TV application together with TCL CSOT,” the Japanese company said Friday.

JOLED is researching and developing technology for producing OLED displays through inkjet printing. The current method involves evaporating electroluminescent material inside vacuum chambers using expensive masks.

The printing method is expected to streamline the manufacturing process, cut costs, and be adaptable to many products.

Known for offering some of the cheapest TV models at such stores as Costco and Best Buy, in the USA and at JB Hi Fi where they sell TCL manufactured Ffalcon TV’s and The Good Guys in Australia TCL says that it is world’s second-largest television maker by market share and sold more than 32 million TVs worldwide last year.

South Korea’s LG Display controls the majority of the market for large-screen OLED television panels.

With the massive capital expenditures involved, there is a significant risk to a company owning mass production equipment.

Eventually, JOLED aims to become a fabless operation that licenses panel-making tech for a fee to deep-pocketed TV manufacturers.

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