IHS: Chinese OLED makers ship over a million panels in Q3 2016

IHS says that combine OLED shipments from all active Chinese OLED makers reached over a 1.4 million panels in Q3 2016 . This is still small relative to Samsung's capacity (which made around 70 million panels in the quarter) but a step forward for these companies.

OLED display penetration in the Chinese phone market (IHS, 2015-2016)

IHS says that strong demand from Chinese smartphone brands (see chart above), mostly Oppo and Vivo boosted the demand for AMOLED displays. Coupled with the reported supply shortage at SDC this created an opportunity for the new OLED makers based in China. In Q2 2016 these Chinese OLED makers produced around 600,000 panels (so production more than doubled in the quarter.

The three active OLED producers in China are Everdisplay (EDO), BOE Display, Visionox and Tianma. IHS for some reason, does not mention BOE Display though. The largest producer according to IHS is EDO that shipped a million panels in Q3. TianMa and Visionox has lower volume, but did manage to get ZTE to pick both companies as secondary suppliers.

Everdisplay started mass producing 5" 720p AMOLED displays towards the end of 2014 in a 4.5-Gen line with a monthly capacity of 20,000 substrates. Since then the company added more displays - wearable panels and larger 5.5" ones. According to reports, Xiaomi's Redmi Pro smartphone uses EDO's (and BOE's) 5.5" FHD AMOLED panels. Everdisplay recently launched a $4 billion Gen-6 flexible AMOLED fab that will begin production in 2019.

BOE Display is producing AMOLED displays at its 5.5-Gen LTPS OLED fab in Ordos - although capacity is still limited as the company struggles with low yields. BOE Display is building a second AMOLED fab, a Gen-6 flexible OLED (LTPS) fab in Chengdu. The company started working on the new fab in May 2015, and said that the total investment will reach around $3.54 billion. This fab will have a capacity of 24,000 monthly substrates - and is expected to begin mass production in 2017.

Visionox has started mass producing AMOLED panels in June 2015, but the company's production capacity is still limited. Visionox's Gen-5.5 AMOLED line in Kunshan can currently produce around 4,000 monthly substrate, and once yields stabilize they will reach a full capacity of 15,000 monthly substrates. The company is mulling a $673 million investment to expand the capacity of this fab. According to a report earlier this year, Visionox is also aiming to establish a 6-Gen flexible AMOLED fab in Chengdu - but this new fab hasn't been confirmed yet.

Shanghai-based TianMa is starting to produce glass-based OLEDs in its Gen-5.5 pilot line - but this line will have a limited capacity. Commercial production is expected by the end of the year. TianMa did not yet reveal any investment plans for AMOLED mass production, but the company did establish a joint venture called Johua Printing with CSoT to promote printed OLED technologies. Back in 2013 TianMa announced plans for three different AMOLED production fabs, but it's not clear if any of this is still on track, except the existing Gen-5.5 pilot line mentioned above.

Posted: Dec 22,2016 by Ron Mertens