The OLED Microdisplay industry is enjoying increased interest in the last few years, as the world's leading device makers (led by Apple, Facebook, Sony, Google, Samsung and others) are all developing next-generation VR and AR devices that are based on high-end microdisplays. OLED is regarded as the most fitting technology to power these next-generation devices.
Up until a few years ago, there was only a handful of companies that developed and produced microdisplays - led by eMagin, Sony, OLiGHTEK and MicroOLED, and the combined production volume was very limited, as applications were mostly in the defense, medical and high-end cameras sectors. But the increased demand spawned many more companies, some of which have already started to sell displays in the market, which expanded the global supply dramatically.
In this article we will take a look at the current OLED microdisplay market in China, a particularly active region. As of the time of writing, there are nine different OLED microdisplay makers based in China, at various stages of developments. Some of these companies, like BOE and Seeya, are already shipping panels and offer very high quality displays.
So let us start with BOE indeed. In March 2017 BOE entered into the OLED microdisplay market, via a joint-venture with OLiGHTEK, an established OLED microdisplay maker in China. The first BOE fab, a 8-inch line that cost $172 million USD, is already in production. BOE today offers several high-end displays, including a 0.39" FHD panel and a 0.71" FHD panel, both of which are available at the OLED Marketplace. BOE is now building a 12-inch wafer line in Yunnan, in a $486 million investment.
Shanghai-based Seeya Information Technology was established in 2016, and quickly started to build a $300 million production line in Hefei. Seeya's fab has a monthly capacity of 9,000 12-inch wafers, enough to produce around 20 million displays per year. The total investment in this fab was almost $300 million USD. The company is now shipping several displays, including a 0.49" FHD 3000 nits panel and a 1.03â€ 2560x2560 1,800 nits panel. Seeya's displays are all available at the OLED Marketplace. From our checks, Seeya's displays are superb and customers are very happy with the quality and performance.
Another relatively new company in China is SidTek (formally Semiconductor Integrated Display Technology). SidTek was also established in 2016, and the company's first line was completed a few years later. The company's first panels are a 0.39" XGA, 0.61" (SVGA and SXGA) and a 0.96" (1400x1050) panel. Some of SidTek's displays are available at the OLED Marketplace. The company produces these on 8-inch wafers, and the company is building a second line that will be based on 12-inch wafers and is expected to start production by December 2023. Sidtek is also developing microLED technologies, and aims to establish a microLED microdisplay R&D line, expected to be completed by September 2022.
There are many more companies in China active with OLED microdisplays - including OLiGHTEK which is an established company that is collaborating with BOE and also with US-based Kopin, INT-Tech that develops both AM and Si based microdisplays and newcomers such as Kunshan Mengxian (owned by PMOLED maker Qingyue), BCDTEK, Lakeside Optoelectronics and Nanijng Guozhao Optoelectronics.
If you want to learn more about the OLED microdisplay market in China (and also globally), check out our OLED and MicroLED Microdisplay Market Report, which gives detailed information on these companies, their product lines and roadmaps, and includes over 25 datasheets and presentations from microdisplay makers. The report was updated earlier this month, and includes the latest information on Samsung and LG's entry into this market and the latest microLED news.