According to a recent report from DigiTimes citing anonymous industry sources, LG Display, BOE Technology, and Tianma Micro-electronics are planning on pushing small-sized flexible AMOLED panels into mass production in the second half of 2017. The three companies are preparing for the increasing demand for flexible AMOLED smartphone displays, but that’s not to say that they won’t experience any resistance from existing suppliers, including Samsung Display who continues to lead the AMOLED display segment.
LG Display will reportedly begin the mass manufacturing of flexible AMOLED displays in its E5 factory sometime by the end of July. Sources say that the company’s small-size AMOLED panels will initially be shipped to customers other than Apple, suggesting that LG Display won’t supply the Cupertino-based tech giant with AMOLED displays for the next iPhone model. Either way, LG Display will be able to manufacture anywhere between 30 to 50 million flexible AMOLED panels before the end of 2017, according to people with knowledge of the matter, who added that LG Display’s P10 LCD factory currently under construction will likely switch the production line later on in order to manufacture small and medium-sized AMOLED panels. As for BOE Technology and Tianma Micro-electronics, the two companies have joined the AMOLED market segment in the second half of last year and converted their LTPS LCD factories into AMOLED production lines in early 2017. Industry watchers added that BOE Technology is currently building new AMOLED production lines in Chengdu and Mianyang, Sichuan province, and these factories will reportedly be operational near the end of 2017 or in early 2018. According to LCD market research firm WitsView, the demand for AMOLED smartphone panels will likely continue to increase and the technology could reach a market penetration rate of 50 percent by 2020.
Earlier this month, LG Display and Samsung Electronics have announced their new partnership which will allow LG Display to supply the other tech giant with large-sized LCD panels for the TV segment. This collaboration became necessary after Samsung Electronics lost one of its largest LCD supplier – Sharp – in December 2016, following the Japanese company’s acquisition by Foxconn. Having said that, it will be interesting to see how LG Display will collaborate with Samsung Electronics in the TV market segment while competing with the same company in the small and medium-sized AMOLED market.