BOE Display, founded in 1993 in Beijing China, is one of the world's leading display maker, producing both LCDs and OLEDs. BOE also produces LCD backlighting units and solar panels.
BOE has been producing small glass-based OLEDs for some time, but the company's focus is currently in flexible and foldable OLEDs. In October 2017 BOE started to produce flexible OLED displays at its first flexible OLED line, the Chengdu B7 6-Gen fab. The annual capacity of the B7 line, when complete and at 100% yields, will be 45,000 monthly 6-Gen substrates, or about 90 million smartphone OLEDs
In addition to the B7 fab in Chengdu, in October 2016 BOE announced another 6-Gen OLED fab, in Mianyang, with a similar capacity. In March 2018, BOE announced plans for a third 6-Gen OLED fab, this one in Chongqing. In December 2018, BOE announced plans for its fourth line in Fuzhou. BOE is also building an OLED Microdisplay fab in collaboration with OLiGHTEK.
BOE's latest OLED prototypes and panels
In May 2018 BOE demonstrated its latest flexible and foldable OLEDs at SID 2018. BOE's foldable prototype was a 6.2" WQHD (1440x3008, 538 PPI) panel that features a fold-radius of 1R and include a touch layer. BOE also demonstrated a foldable tablet (which they call a Phonblet, I am not sure if this term will catch), which includes a larger 7.56" foldable OLED. This panel features a resolution of 2048x1535 (338 PPI).
The latest BOE OLED news:
DSCC says that OLED mobile display production capacity will overtake LCD capacity in 2020, and will reach a 65% market share in 2025.
Looking at the entire display market (mobile and TV and others), DSCC sees OLED production capacity rising at a 20% CAGR till 2025, and OLED's market share will rise from 5% in 2019 to 14% in 2025.
IHS Markit says that the global OLED smartphone market totaled $3.8 billion in Q2 2019. The top producer was Samsung Display had a market share of 82% ($3.15 billion in revenues).
The second largest OLED smartphone maker is China's BOE Display that had a 12% market share ($456 million in revenues). BOE experienced very vast growth - its market share in Q4 2018 was only 4% and in Q1 2019 it was 9%.
DSCC updated its display equipment spending forecast, and the company now expects LCD spending to stop completely in 2023 - as all new production lines from 2023 forward will be producing OLED displays (DSCC does not include other display technologies in this report, such as QDEL, e-paper and Micro-LEDs).
2019 will see 26% decrease in spending from 2018, with OLED spending down 64%. DSCC sees a rebound in 2020, where OLED spending will jump 132% due to new mobile flexible OLED lines in China.
BOE says that it shipped 9.1 million AMOLED displays in the first half of 2019 - better than expected as Huawei increased its OLED penetration to 24% in Q2 2019 (up from 9% in Q2 2018). BOE though warns of weak demand for flexible OLEDs and the company lowered its 2019 fully-year guidance to 30 million units (down from 30-50 million).
BOE further announced that it will delay the phase 3 of its Chengdu B7 6-Gen OLED fab due to the weak flexible OLED demand. CLSA estimates that BOE ships more than 60% of Huawei's flexible OLED displays. Over 90% of BOE's OLED revenue is attributed to Huawei, but BOE aims to add one or two new customers starting in Q4 2019.
In February 2019 Huawei launched its first foldable smartphone, the Mate X with a 8" 2200x2480 foldable AMOLED display that folds outwards. Huawei originally said it will launch the Mate X by the end of June, but Huawei later said it plans to release it in September and now the company again delays the launch saying that the phone will launch by November.
Back in June Huawei said that it needs more time to test the device and make sure it is durable. It is likely that Huawei is still testing the device - or that Huawei did find some problems and now needs to fix these. It is also possible that the US ban on Huawei is behind this decision. In an
Back in early 2017 it was reported that Apple is in discussions with BOE Display to supply OLED displays for future iPhones. Up until now Samsung was the exclusive iPhone AMOLED supplier, but a new report from Japan suggests that BOE and Apple's talks are still ongoing.
In fact the Nikkei Asian Review says that Apple is "aggressively testing" BOE's flexible AMOLED displays. The NAR claims that Apple will decide whether to add BOE as a supplier by the end of 2019. Such a deal will be a great step forward for BOE toward its goal to become a leading AMOLED supplier.
DSCC updated its foldable OLED market forecasts, saying that it now expects the market to grow slower than it anticipated earlier this year. In 2019 DSCC sees 360,000 foldable panels produced in 2019, with less than 250,000 actual devices sold. By 2023, the market will grow to over 68 million units (a CAGR of 272%) generating over $8 billion in revenues.
Smartphones will remain the leading devices to adopt foldable OLEDs throughout the forecast period, and starting in 2020 DSCC sees clamshell designs with at least a 60% unit share. DSCC sees ultra-thin glass as becoming a significant player, with Samsung adopting SCHOTT UTG starting in 2020. Ultra-thin glass enables an aggressive folding radius, scratch resistance, hardness and a similar touch experience to current glass based displays.
In January 2019 China-based Hisense announced its dual-LCD ULED XD panel, that includes an monochrome inner LCD panel that acts as a two million dimming zones layer to boost the contrast.
In a trade show in China, HiSense demonstrated this panel again, and is apparently close to launching it as a product. The model number will be U9E and Hisense plans to sell it for CNY 17,999 (around $2600) for the 65" 4K model.
According to a new report from Korea, LG Electronics is in talks with China-based BOE to supply OLED panels for future smartphones -and replace LGE's current supplier - it's sister company LG Display.
The report suggests two reasons for LG's talk with BOE. First is LG's drive to cut costs as its mobile phone business is losing massive amounts of money. The second reason is that LG Display cannot supply enough panels for LG Electronics as it still struggles with low production yields.
BOE demonstrated a new AMOLED display that has a unique format - a 20:1 display (1209×63 mm) with a resolution of 3840×160 and relatively small bezels.
These kind of displays can be used for electronic shelf label applications - a field traditionally catered for by e-paper or E Ink displays due to their high efficiency and non volatility. E Ink displays are highly suited for these signage applications - but OLEDs can offer much higher image quality and colors so could suit some applications.