Samsung Electronics' subsidiary Samsung Display has been the leading supplier of smartphone AMOLED panels for quite some time, but that market dominance may be challenged in the near future. According to the latest market analysis conducted by Digitimes Research, Chinese AMOLED display makers will soon start expanding their operations at the expense of Samsung. More specifically, it seems that Samsung's competitors finally managed to come to terms with local smartphone manufacturers and are now ready to start supplying them with their very own AMOLED panels.
This increased output probably won't make a significant impact on Samsung's market share momentarily, but Digitimes Research is predicting that the company's dominant position in China could be challenged as early as 2019. Chinese smartphone vendors that already partially replaced Samsung Display with local partners include the likes of Xiaomi, ZTE, and Coolpad, all of which recently started cooperating with the Shanghai-based EverDisplay Optronics, Govisionox Optoelectronics, and Tianma Micro-electronics. The latter is already expanding its AMOLED production lines along with BOE Technology, while other OLED manufacturers like Visionox are currently in the process of upscaling their AMOLED production operations. Interestingly enough, the Shanwei-based Truly Opto-Electronics even acquired AMOLED panels production equipment directly from Samsung Display.
Digitimes Research indicates that Chinese AMOLED panel makers will ship 2.4 million panels in 2016, and that number is expected to double by 2019. However, it's worth noting that Samsung is planning to ship approximately 150 million of AMOLED panel units to China-based phone vendors by 2019, so Digitimes' conclusion that Samsung's market dominance will be "challenged" heavily relies on a rather liberal interpretation of that word. Simply speaking, the Seoul-based tech giant still isn't concerned about the future of its AMOLED business in China, as evidenced by the fact that it's willing to sell manufacturing equipment to its direct competitors. Nonetheless, Samsung will certainly want to closely monitor the situation in China given how its AMOLED business is an important revenue stream for the company which has consistently been losing smartphone market share in this country for a few years now. While Chinese AMOLED makers probably won't be a huge threat to Samsung in the next few years, Japanese companies like Sharp and Japan Display could be, as they've repeatedly mentioned plans for a more aggressive push in the Chinese AMOLED panel market.