CLSA lowers its china smartphone OLED production and adoption forecasts

CLSA says that as OLED displays are too expensive for many smartphone makers and lack enough differentiation to LCDs, the company is lowering its OLED adoption forecasts. CLSA now expects China's OLED smartphone shipments to total 116 million in 2018, 143 million in 2019 and 168 million in 2020. CLSA lowered its forecasts by 12-21%. In terms of penetration into the total Chinese smartphone market, CLSA sees 14% in 2018, 18% in 2019 and 21% in 2020.

Huawei Mate 20 X photo
Looking at the OLED makers, side, CLSA sees ample OLED supply in coming years, which means that expansion is likely to slow. CLSA assumed that OLED makers will achieve 70% yields and a utilization rate of 90%, which will bring all OLED makers to have a combined production capacity of around 288 million 6" panels in 2020. As demand will be only 168 million by Chinese phone makers (and remember there's also Samsung and LGD of course), this will create quite an oversupply situation in China. CLSA cuts its China OLED production forecasts by BOE, Tianma, Visionox, CSoT and Everdisplay by 23% to 26% in coming years.

Yeolight new candle-like OLED lighting panels to soon hit the market

Yeolight Technology (which was spun-off Visionox in May 2015) developed candle-shaped transparent OLED lighting panels. The segmented panels have five different lighting panels each with its own brightness. The total size is 11.26 x 26.26 mm (with a thickness of 1.05 mm).

Yeolight tells us that these new OLED candles has been developed for a customer that will soon ship its final product to the market. The panels are now in production.

Merck and Visionox announce a strategic partnership to accelerate OLED material development

Merck announced that is has signed a Memorandam of Understanding with China's Visionox to accelerate the development and application of OLED displays. Merck did not provide a lot of details, but it did say that this agreement markets a strategic alliance between Merck and Visionox.

Merck Shanghai OLED center inauguration ceremony photo

Merck offers a complete portfolio of materials for OLED display and lighting devices - including evaporation and soluble materials suitable for ink jet printing.

Visionox announces plans to build a 2nd 6-Gen flexible OLED line in Hefei

China-based OLED producer Visionox announced plans to establish its 2nd flexible OLED production line in Hefei. The new line will have a monthly capacity of 30,000 1500x1850 mm substrates (6-Gen), similar to the company's first line in Hebei.

Visionox 6-Gen flexible AMOLED fab (Hebei, China)

The construction of the new line will take 25 months - so mass production will not begin before the end of 2020. Total investment in the new production line will be $6.3 billion, out of which $3.15 billion will be raised with debt and the rest by equity - by Visionox and the Hefei Municipal People's Government.

Who will win the foldable smartphone race?

In 2013, Samsung announced its YOUM flexible OLED brand, showing off several flexible OLED prototypes - including a foldable phone/tablet. Samsung never used the YOUM brand name again, but the foldable smartphone concept presented in 2013 (see image below) is still exciting consumers - and many of them are still waiting for Samsung to commercialize the technology.

Fast forward to 2015, and the first reports of Samsung's Project Valley started to surface. Samsung started to actually develop a foldable phone, with plans to release its first device in 2016. Samsung faced many challenges - and delays - in its foldable smartphone project (which was recently renamed to Project Winner) - including problems with the substrate and the software and user interface.

Visionox demonstrates foldable OLEDs, is the supplier for Nubia's upcoming Alpha foldable device

Earlier this month, Nubia demonstrated a smartband that turns into a smartphone - with a foldable OLED display. We assumed that Nubia is using an OLED produced by either BOE or SDC, but it turns out that the producer is China-based Visionox.

A couple of days ago, at the 2018 China Display Technology Conference, Visionox demonstrated some of its latest foldable panels, and announced that the Nubia is using the company's panel. According to our information, the Nubia uses a 3.23" AMOLED display (when open) - and the device will indeed start shipping in China soon (before the end of 2018).

Visionox to sell its PMOLED business?

Visionox announced a complex restructuring move, that seems to indicate that the company (which recently reversed-merged with Black Cattle Foods) aims to focus on its AMOLED business and sell its PMOLED business.

The new restructuring, or the PMOLED business sale, involves several China-based companies - including local municipalities, financial investors and even a travel company.

CINNO Research details the mobile AMOLED market share by producers

Market analysts from CINNO Research estimate that Samsung Display produced 160.9 million AMOLED displays in H1 2018, which sets SDC's market share in the mobile AMOLED market at 93%. The two other large producers are LG Display and Visionox, both producing 3.5 million panels (2% market share).

AMOLED market share by produces (H1 2018, CINNO)

Both Everdisplay (EDO) and BOE produced 1.7 million panels in the first half of 2018 - or about 1% of the market each. AU Optronics and Tianma produced 0.7 million panels (0.4% market share) and Truly closes the list with a market share of 0.2% (400,000 panels).

CLSA: it is too soon to talk about an OLED recovery

DSCC recently said that SDC's OLED fab utilization is starting to improve as production starts for next-gen iPhones and Galaxy phones, and UBI Research also says that the market recovery is starting. CLSA, however, says that it is too soon to talk about OLED recovery.

CLSA agrees that SDC's fab utilization will rise from about 35% to 80% in the second half of 2018, but CLSA also believes that Samsung is not even considering the A4 fab (30,000 monthly substrates) which will remain idle, which means that actual utilization will be lower than stated.

DSCC: 100 million OLED panels were shipped in Q1 2018, generating $5.8 billion in revenues

Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC) says that in Q1 2018 OLED revenues dropped 33% compared to Q4 2017 (but grew 39% compared to Q1 2017) and amounted to $5.9 billion. DSCC says that OLED revenues will decline further in Q2 2018 but will recover in the second half of 2018. Full-year revenues are expected to reach $26.95 billion, while the market will reach $57.2 billion by 2022.

AMOLED revenue and growth (2016-2018, DSCC)

Samsung Electronics was the top OLED customer in the first quarter, and together with Apple (#2) the two companies consumer 79% of all OLED panels by revenue.