Japan Display (JDI) is a small/medium display maker, formed in September 2011 by the merger of Sony’s, Toshiba’s and Hitachi’s display businesses and funded by Japan’s government fund Innovation Network Corporation (INCJ), which holds 70% of the shares.
JDI considers OLEDs to be the “core technology” of the next generation small size and medium size displays, and in 2017 the company announced that it is going to perform a "last-chance" restructuring to focus on OLEDs as there is "no future for the smartphone panel business without OLED". JDI requires around $1.7 billion to start OLED production, and is now raising the funds needed - looking for partners in Japan and China.
In August 2014 JDI, together with Sony, Panasonic and INCJ, launched JOLED to develop and produce printed OLED panels. In December 2016 JDI raised $635 million from INCJ to increase its stake at JOLED - but this plan was halted later in 2017.
The latest JDI news:
Last week we reported that Japan Display is developing flexible LCD displays. The company demonstrated a 5.5" FHD LCD that it brands as FULL ACTIVE FLEX, aiming to mass produced such displays that compete with flexible OLEDs in 2018.
JDI posted a presentation detailing the company's strategy, in which they showed the video you see above. This shows how flexible the display is - but it also shows that the LED backlighting unit is not flexible which seems to be a major flaw - I'm guessing JDI will want to change that, otherwise there's not much point in a flexible LCD...
Japan Display announced that it is developing flexible LCD displays. JDI demonstrated a 5.5" FHD (401PPI) LCD that it brands as FULL ACTIVE FLEX. This display uses a plastic substrate which makes the display flexible and also very durable. JDI says it plans to start mass producing such displays in 2018.
The 5.5" FHD display's normal refresh rate is 60Hz, but it can be driven at 15Hz which significantly reduces the power consumption. The brightness of the display is 500 cd/m2 and the contrast ratio is 1500:1.
JOLED (Japan OLED) was established in August 2014 by Japan Display, Sony and Panasonic with an aim to become an OLED medium display (10-30 inch) producer. JOLED is using a printing process which should result in lower cost production (but of lower performance displays) compared to evaporation printing.
JOLED's R&D Division Manager spoke at the PF&E China conference a couple of weeks ago, detailing the company's process. JOLED is producing RGB-strip OLED panels using ink-jet printers made by Panasonic and PLED materials produced by Sumitomo. The OLED structure is based on Sony's technology and the backplane is a transparent amorphous oxide semiconductor.
Last week we posted that Japan Display is set to raise its stake in JOLED for $100 million, following a $650 million USD cash injection from INCJ to grow its LCD and OLED business. JDI today confirmed this plan. The company received 45 billion yen ($382 million US) from INCJ in the form of unsecured subordinated convertible bonds and these funds will be used for R&D expenses on printing OLED technologies (and will probably include the $100 million for JOLED).
JDI also received 30 billion yen (about $255 million US) from INCJ in the form of subordinated loan, and this money will go towards OLED R&D in the field of evaporation OLED technologies.
JDI raises its stake in JOLED for $100 million, receives $650 million from INCJ to grow its LCD and OLED business
JOLED (Japan OLED) was established in August 2014 by Japan Display (15%), Sony (5%) and Panasonic (5%) with an aim to become an OLED medium display producer using printing technologies. The Innovation Network Corp of Japan (INCJ), which funded JOLED, had a 75% stake.
In early 2016 it was reported that Japan Display (JDI) aims to acquire JOLED, and this deal is finally taking place - JDI will pay around $100 million USD to INCJ and will raise its stake to over 50% (which values JOLED at around $300 million). Reuters say that the financing transactions, though, will only end towards the end of 2017.
Japan Display developed a new foldable device concept that uses two thin-bezel LCD displays. JDI is working with a Chinese smartphone maker to introduce such a device in the summer of 2017.
To create those thin-bezel displays, JDI collaborated with Minebea and other companies to use a specially designed backlight and LCD panel.The frame is less than 1mm wide, which means that the gap between the two displays is less than 2mm.
Japan Display (JDI) announced it is cutting 4,700 jobs (about 30% of its workforce) to improve profitability, but also said that it is seeing strong demand for its LCD screens from Chinese phone makers.
JDI says that these phone makers are switching from OLED displays back to LCD ones. JDI explains that its LCD panels have "caught up with OLED rivals in thinness and power efficiency" and so phone makers are now beginning to have "doubts about the future of OLEDs".
A couple of days ago it was reported that Sharp's President, Tai Jeng-wu, said that Sharp wants to collaborate with Japan Display to co-develop OLED displays. Both Sharp and Japan Display are struggling to launch OLED production, hoping to become Apple's second AMOLED supplier.
Following Tai Jeng-wu's statement, a source from Japan Display told the Nikkei Asian Review that Sharp did not yet approach JDI on this issue, and there are no discussions yet (I assumed otherwise...). The Nikkei Asian Review speculates the Sharp may be worried that any technology shared with JDI may leak to Taiwan's Foxconn.
Foxconn's recently acquired Sharp for $3.5 billion, and the Taiwanese-based company plans to invest a total of $1.8 billion in Sharp's OLED technologies, as Foxconn aims to become an OLED supplier to Apple.
In June 2016 Foxconn's president said that Sharp aims to start mass producing OLEDs as early as 2017. But OLED mass production is not so easy to achieve, and there are already reports that Sharp is delaying those plans, and will probably not even begin production in 2018.
Earlier this month we reported that Samsung Display cannot supply enough AMOLED displays to Chinese phone maker Oppo, as SDC's production capacity is fully booked, and Oppo is seeing higher demand than anticipated. In fact some reports say that Oppo is selling more phones in China than Apple.
Now Oppo confirms this shortage of AMOLED display panels for the R9, and the company's president announced that Oppo will release an LCD variant called R9km. The LCD in the R9km will be supplied by JDI. The Oppo R9 (also known as F1 Plus) has a large display (5.5" FHD, 401 PPI) and is now available for around $500 in the US, unlocked.