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Make China a global leader in AMOLED
Publish time:2013-11-21
News Source:China Electronic News

    BOE’s Gen 5.5 AMOLED production line came into operation in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, on November 21, 2013. It is the first of its kind in the Chinese mainland and the
second in the world following that of Samsung.
    Over the past two years, as the small and medium-sized AMOLED market is rapidly expanding driven by Samsung, mainland panel makers have also accelerated the
construction of AMOLED production lines in a bid to extend their presence in the small and medium-sized AMOLED market and gain a foothold in the field of new displays.     In an interview with China Electronic News, BOE Chairman Wang Dongsheng said, “BOE has spent five years developing the innovative AMOLED technology on its own. Now we have made breakthroughs in the technology and applied it to production. In fact, we are only one year later than Samsung in putting AMOLED production line into operation. We should be innovative and strive to make China a global leader in AMOLED.”

Gen 5.5 AMOLED targets next-generation small and medium-sized displays
    BOE started to build its Gen 5.5 AMOLED production line in Ordos in August 2011. With a total investment of RMB 22 billion, the production line has a design capacity of 54,000 glass substrates per month, targeting small and medium-sized high-end LTPS and AMOLED display devices. According to BOE Vice President Zhang Yu, the
market of small and medium-sized products is growing rapidly, and the AMOLED-led new display technology is especially promising. Among the design capacity of 54,000 sheets, 24,000 will be AMOLED panels.
    With the rapid development of smart phones and tablets in recent years, the market of small and medium-sized products has flourished, and the LTPS backlight technol-ogy is considered the solution to high-end panels.
    According to NPD DisplaySearch, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of LTPS TFT-LCD displays is 19% and that of LTPS AMOLED displays 17%.
“AMOLED is a hot spot in the industry and also for investors. It is still at the early stage of industrial applications and used together with LTPS and Oxide TFT. Yet due to the mature technology, LTPS remains dominant in production lines of Gen 6 or lower generations”, said David Hsieh, Vice President of the Greater China Market at DisplaySe-arch, in an interview with China Electronics News.
    It is also learned that BOE’s Gen 5.5 AMOLED production line in Ordos will also make flexible displays, thus covering a full range of small and medium-sized displays.

Break up South Korea’s monopoly and downstream enterprises will benefit
    Globally, the effective capacity of both LTPS and AMOLED is very limited. The capacity of LTPS mainly comes from Japanese manufacturers, while that of AMOLED for   smart phones is largely in the hands of Samsung. As the market has been carved up by world-leading companies such as Samsung and Nokia, Chinese smart device ma-kers are hindered from entering the high-end market. Yet this is going to be changed after BOE’s Gen 5.5 AMOLED production line in Ordos comes into operation because it will benefit all smart device producers of the mainland.
    At the inauguration ceremony for its Gen 5.5 AMOLED production line, BOE showcased the 5.0-inch HD AMOLED display and 5.0-inch HD LTPS-LCD display which are first produced in the line. They are both popular displays for large-sized smart phones. BOE has also delivered the first batch of products to ZTE and reached strategic
cooperation agreements with domestic and foreign giants like Lenovo. According to Lenovo Vice President Wang Dayong, its cooperation with BOE covers a full range of products. In the second half of 2012, up to 42% of the panels in Lenovo’s smart phones were supplied by BOE.
    Following BOE, Visionox and Tianma have also put the Gen 5.5 AMOLED production line on their agenda. Visionox is planning to invest RMB 15 billion in a Gen 5.5 AMOLED production line in Kunshan, which is expected to come into operation in 2015, while Tianma will put its line into operation in 2014. Thanks to such efforts, the mainl-and will gradually break up the monopoly of South Korea, while enhancing its capacity for supplying AMOLED panels for mobile phones.

Opportunity for China’s display industry
    “Samsung is 15 years earlier than BOE in operating LCD production lines, but only one year earlier in Gen 5.5 AMOLED production line. Taiwan and Japan still have no Gen 5.5 production lines. The global AMOLED competition has just kicked off”, said BOE Chairman Wang Dongsheng, with palpable excitement and pride.
    With harsh experiences in CRT and LCD, the mainland’s FPD makers consider AMOLED a critical opportunity for their extending their international influence.
    According to David Hsieh, however, as OLED materials and equipment are mainly controlled by South Korean manufacturers which have signed exclusivity agreements with Samsung and LG, Chinese enterprises still lack experience and support in mass-producing AMOLED.
    “Without technological strength, there is no power in negotiations. We must be capable of independent innovation and share global resources. BOE has not only worked with universities in developing the OLED technology but also conducted experiments jointly with manufacturers of materials and displays to achieve breakthroughs in the OLED technology. In 2013, BOE is expected to file more than 3,500 patent applications, making it a global leader in this regard. BOE now holds more than 10,000 patents, of which 40% are relevant to OLED technology. We are determined to take the lead in this field,” said Wang Dongsheng.
    Apart from small and medium-sized AMOLED panels, Samsung and LG have also mass-produced large-sized OLED panels this year. With the industry growing mature and the accession of new competitors, the shipments of OLED TVs, as predicted by NPD DisplaySearch, are expected to reach millions. To secure a leadership in OLED, mainland panel makers must break the bottlenecks in large-sized OLED production since it is far from enough to just concentrate on small and medium-sized displays.
    According to Zhang Yu, when building Gen 8.5 production lines in Chongqing and Hefei, BOE reserved some resources for making large-sized AMOLED panels, a
strategy only kept to itself. When both the market and technology are mature, the two production lines will be used for producing large-sized OLED panels.