OLED is a display technology that enables thin, efficient, flexible and bright displays, TVs and lighting devices. OLED displays offer the world's best image quality - and enables future foldable and rollable displays (see more here - What is OLED?).
The OLED market is already a multi-billion dollar market, led by Samsung and LG Display with their smartphone and TV OLED businesses. It is estimated that OLED displays generated around $25 billion in revenues in 2018 (and analysts expect the market to continue its fast growth in the future).
For public investors interested in the OLED market, there are several good options:
- Universal Display Corporation: UDC is an OLED pioneer, and holds many of the key patents in the industry (mostly around efficient phosphorescent OLED emitters). Virtually all AMOLED displays on the market adopt UDC's PHOLED materials, and the company experienced very fast growth in revenue in recent years. Universal Display's stock ticker is OLED, you can see the OLED share price here.
- eMagin: eMagin is an OLED microdisplay pioneer, and has been developing and producing such displays for many years, focusing on the defense market and recently also on the consumer VR/AR market. eMagin's stock ticker is EMAN.
- OLED display makers: OLED display makers can be a good investment opportunity - especially companies that have a focus on OLED displays - such as Samsung Display and LG display, BOE Display and more.
- OLED equipment makers: There are several public equipment companies (for example Coherent and Applied Materials) that enjoyed the recent OLED capacity expansion as new OLED fabs require new equipment to produce OLED displays. These companies could be a good investment opportunity to investors who believes a new wave of OLED capacity expansion is near.
For private investors who want to find early-stage startups, we offer the OLED crowdfunding arena, a new and innovative service!
We'll be happy to hear your thoughts on OLED investing - join the discussion at our investment forum!
The latest OLED stock news:
Samsung Display formally announced its decision to invest ₩13.1 trillion (around $10.85 billion USD) in QD-OLED TV R&D and production lines. The investment plan will span 6 years (2019-2025) and the first step will be to convert an LCD production line in SDC's L8 fab in Tangjong, Korea to QD-OLED production.
The Tangjong line will be converted from 125k monthly substrates of LCD production to 30k monthly QD-OLED substrates, and mass production will begin in Q1 2021. In the long run SDC plans to convert all its 8-Gen LCD lines (360,000 monthly substrates) to QD-OLED production (which will yield around 100,000 monthly QD-OLED substrates).
In April 2019 Reuters reported that Japan Display (JDI) signed a deal with Apple to supply it with AMOLED displays for its smartwatches, and today JDI's new CEO Minoru Kikuoka said that the company recently started producing OLED displays - likely indeed this is low volume production for Apple's wearables.
Apple's Watch Series 5 (its latest generation) features a 324x394 1000-nits always-on LTPO AMOLED display (368x448 on the 44m model). Apple is currently buying these OLED displays exclusively from LGD.
Samsung posted its Q3 2019 financial estimates - and the company's income was higher than what was expected from analysts - even though profit dropped over 50% compared to 2018.
In August 2017, Japan Display announced a last-resort strategic focus on OLED displays as the Japanese display maker failed to shift to OLED displays in time. Two years later, in July 2019, the company announced that it finally secured the 80 billion Yen (around $740 million) bailout plan from the China-based Harvest Group, Hong Kong-based activist investor Oasis Management and an unnamed JDI customer - which is likely to be Apple.
Unfortunately for JDI, the Harvest Group decided not to move forward with the investment after all. The Harvest Group was supposed to provide most of the funds for JDI which could put the Japanese display maker in a difficult position.
Business Korea says that Samsung Display has finalized its QD-OLED TV production plans. The company will invest 13 trillion Won (around $10.85 billion) to convert its L8 LCD production line in Tangjeong to QD-OLED production.
According to the report, SDC's investment will be the single largest investment in Korea's display industry ever. The L8-1-1 LCD line will be shut down immediately, and converted to QD-OLED production. SDC will also shut down its second line (L8-2-1) and in total the two fabs will be able to produce 200,000 8-Gen glass substrates each month (down from the current 360,000 substrates in LCD production today). Mass production of QD-OLED panels will begin in 2022.
LG Display is currently producing flexible AMOLED displays for Apple's smartwatches in its E2 4.5-Gen line in Paju. The company hasn't been able to improve its financials as LCD prices are under pressure, and following a recent managerial shuffle, it is now reported that LGD is considering shutting down its E2 line.
The E2 production capacity is around 20,000 substrates per month, but it is less economical than LG's larger OLED lines, the E5 and E6 lines which are 6-Gen lines. LG will reportedly move production from its E2 line to its larger lines.
Japan Display recently secured a 80 billion Yen (around $740 million) bailout plan from the China-based Harvest Group, Hong Kong-based activist investor Oasis Management and an unnamed JDI customer - which is likely to be Apple.
In August 2017, Japan Display announced a last-resort strategic focus on OLED displays as the Japanese display maker failed to shift to OLED displays in time. JDI now announced that it is extending the shut-down of its Ishikawa LCD fab due to slow demand for LCD displays from Apple. JDI is talks with the Harvest Group to convert the fab to OLED production.
LG announced that it is starting to ship its 88" 8K flagship OLED Z9 TV in the US, with a price of $29,999. The OLED88Z9 is based on LG's 2nd-gen Alpha 9 intelligent processor the enables LG's ThinQ AI to offer new display algorithms and Amazon's Alexa and Google's Assistant.
The Signature OLED Z9 features HDMI 2.1 which enables high frame rate (HFR) support, enhanced audio return channel (eARC), variable refresh rate (VRR) and automatic low latency mode (ALLM). LG's flagship OLED also feature Dolby Atmos for immersive entertainment.
In August 2019 Universal Display announced that it has established a network of OLED materials partnerships to help commercialize its new host materials. LG Chem announced today that it joined UDC's network and the two companies will work together to co-develop OLED host materials.
Under the new agreement, UDC will supply LG Chem with its phosphorescent emitters, while LG Chem will develop and host materials. The two companies will jointly develop the host/emitter system with an aim to develop a wider color gamut OLED device.
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.