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Chinese panel makers target OLED technology
Publish time:2013-11-28
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    Chinese panel makers are actively developing production lines for OLED, which is known as the “next-generation display technology”. In the middle of November, CSOT
launched its Phase II project on the Gen 8.5 production line, which will introduce the OLED technology. Recently, BOE officially put into operation its Gen 5.5 AMOLED pro-duction line in Ordos, Inner Mongolia.

China’s first Gen 5.5 AMOLED production line comes into operation
   BOE invested RMB 22 billion in its Gen 5.5 AMOLED production line in Ordos. The project covers a floor space of about 467,000 m2 and has a design capacity of 54,000 glass substrates per month. The products will be mainly small and medium-sized high-end LTPS and AMOLED display devices.
   Thanks to the rapid development and popularity of electronic display products such as smart phones and tablets, the market of small and medium-sized products is flouri-shing. Among the various new display products, the OLED-based new display technology has gained a foothold with its unique performance, and shows a very brilliant
prospect. According to DisplaySearch, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of LTPS TFT-LCD displays is 19% and that of LTPS AMOLED displays 17%.
   Before that, Samsung had the world’s only Gen 5.5 AMOLED production line, holding an incomparable top spot in the small and medium-sized OLED market. According  to BOE Vice President Zhang Yu, BOE’s Gen 5.5 production line in Ordos, now waiting for mass production, is the first of its kind in China and the second in the world.
OLED represents the trend of the panel industry and Chinese panel makers must have production lines for OLED panels.
   As Zhang Yu commented, the Gen 5.5 production line in Ordos will better meet domestic and overseas demand for high-end displays for mobile devices, promote the de-velopment of wearable devices and flexible displays, and advance the development of large-sized OLED TV displays.
   Another leading Chinese panel maker CSOT also introduced the OLED technology in its Phase II project launched not long ago. According to CSOT CEO Bo Lianming,
the project is expected to come into operation in May or June 2015, with a design capacity of 100,000 glass substrates per month, including 70,000 featuring amorphous
silicon semiconductor and 30,000 featuring oxide semiconductor (including AMOLED).While the total capacity stays unchanged,the capacity for oxide semiconductor glass substrates will be adjusted properly according to market conditions.
   As TCL Chairman Li Dongsheng pointed out, AMOLED displays to be mass-produced by CSOT will be mainly used in mobile phones as the cost is still high and the tec-hnology is not ready for its application in large-sized TVs. It doesn’t mean that TCL has given up on the development of OLED TVs Its R&D efforts in this regard are actually being intensified. Recently CSOT debuted China’s first 31-inch AMOLED display made on its Gen 4.5 pilot production line at the base in Guangming New District of
Shenzhen.

China’s OLED industry still needs time to grow
  Industry experts believe that OLED has a bright prospect, despite the technological bottlenecks, initial stage and high manufacturing cost. According to DisplaySearch,
the market size of OLED TVs is expected to expand greatly in 2014 and reach USD 3 billion in 2015. OLED TVs will drive the growth of the high-end TV market. The global flexible display industry, as predicted by IHS Display Bank, will see leapfrog growth and have a market size up to USD 1.5 billion in 2016 which may even reach USD 10
billion in 2019. Everyone would want a bigger share of the pie.
   Despite their initiatives in the OLED field, Chinese panel makers are still much less competitive than their South Korean counterparts which have invested heavily in the development of OLED technology. LG Display started to invest in OLED TV panels in 2012 and the investment is expected to reach KRW 1.1 trillion this year.Samsung has invested KRW 7.9 trillion in the development of OLED technology over the past two fiscal years.
   These investments have helped South Korean panel makers build their leadership in the OLED market. As for the AMOLED market, Samsung and LG Display contribute to over 90% of the global shipments. Samsung even has an overwhelming share of 95% in the production of small and medium-sized OLED displays on Gen 5.5 lines. At
the beginning of this year, LG Display invested about RMB 4 billion to build a new Gen 8.5 WRGB OLED TV panel production line at its P9 plant in Paju, which is expected to come into operation in the first half of 2014, with a capacity of 26,000 sheets per month. The OLED TVs launched by Samsung and LG Display early this year were made available on the Chinese market in September. Moreover, South Korean panel makers have set eyes on the flexible display technology. In October,LG Display announced to mass-produce the world’s first 6-inch flexible OLED panels for smart phones. Before long, Samsung also unveiled its plan to mass produce 5.7-inch flexible OLED displ-ays.
   Japanese enterprises have also accelerated the development and application of the OLED technology by making use of their advantages in materials, devices and other upstream fields and through industry consolidation. Panasonic and Sony have launched large-sized OLED TVs, followed by panel makers in Taiwan.
   In contrast, the mainland’s OLED industry is still faced with many difficulties, lacking in producers for complete sets of OLED production facilities. The key equipment and system technology are in the hands of Japanese, South Korean and European companies. Almost all upstream materials and fittings such as drive IC, conductive glass, encapsulation glass,organic materials and precision masks need to be purchased from Japan and South Korea.Given that, the mainland’s OLED industry still has a long way to go.