South Korea company charged with leaking SDC's flexible OLEDs secret to Chinese display makers

South Korean prosecutors indicted a group of 11 executives and employees of Korea-based Toptec, a Samsung Electronics supplier, accusing them with leaking Samsung's flexible OLED technology to Chinese display makers. The group includes Toptec's president and managing director.

According to Nikkei Asian Review, the Toptec's executives supplied the stolen information to four companies in China - including BOE and CSoT. The cost of the information was 15.5 billion Won - or almost $14 million USD. Toptec produces display production automated equipment.

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.

CSoT breaks ground on its upcoming T7 fab, which includes a printed OLED TV line

China-based display maker CSoT held a ceremony yesterday as it started construction on its upcoming T7 large-area display production fab. The T7 fab, which has a total cost of around 42.7 billion Yuan ($6.15 billion USD), will produce both LCD and OLED display.

Total capacity in the T7 line will be 105,000 monthly substrates (according to our information, the OLED capacity will be 20,000 monthly substartes). The T7 OLED line will use IGZO backplanes and inkjet printing deposition. CSoT's plan is to start production by the end of 2020 - with real mass production starting in 2021.

CSoT details its OLED ink-jet printing plans, collaborates with Kateeva, Sumitomo, Merck, DuPont and Tianma

Last month CSoT (TCL) announced plans to establish a 11-Gen LCD+OLED TV fab in Shenzhen, China. Details on the OLED part of that fab were not given, but now we have some updates following the company's investor day.

The new fab will use Oxide-TFT backplanes, and it turns out that the OLED part of the fab will also use the 11-Gen substrates (which may be cut for the actual OLED front plane deposition). Out of the entire capacity of 90,000 monthly substrates, the OLED line will use 20,000 substrates. The fab will start mass production in 2021.

TCL/CSoT plans to build a 11-Gen LCD+OLED TV fab in Shenzhen by 2021

TCL announced that its CSoT Subsidiary (China Star, also known as Shenzhen Huaxing Photoelectric Technology) plans to establish an LCD+OLED TV fab in Shenzhen, China. The new fab will have a monthly capacity of 90,000 substrate - and will produce 65- and 75-inch OLED TVs in addition to 65-, 75- and 75-inch 8K LCDs, all on Oxide-TFT backplanes. The line will begin operation in 2021.

The fab will apparently have two different production lines. The LCD line will be a 11-Gen line (3370x2940 mm) while the OLED Line will use smaller 8.5-Gen substrates (although this is not clear, CSoT may aim to use the 11-Gen substrates for OLED deposition too, perhaps cutting these large substrates before the OLED processing. Total investment in this new fab will be 42.6 billion Yuan (or about $6.7 billion USD).

DSCC sees OLED fab delays and line cancellations ahead

Market analysts from DSCC say that the low utilization rates at Samsung Display has caused the company to delay its capacity expansion plans. SDC's decision to delay its A5 fab has already been discussed, but DSCC now says that Samsung is also significantly delaying the ramp-up at its new A4 line. DSCC estimates that SDC will delay this new line by at least a year.

LG Display has also reportedly cancelled the first phase of their next flexible OLED line, the P7 (which can be a conversion of LGD's old P7 LCD line). DSCC sees LGD ordering equipment for a new flexible OLED line only at the beginning of 2019.

CLSA sees lower demand for OLED displays in China in 2018, updates on OLED production ramp-up

Financial analysts from CLSA released an interesting short report about OLED demand in China. According to IDC, OLED smartphone shipments in China was down 6% in Q4 2017 (compared to Q4 2016) to 36 million units - in line with total Chinese smartphone weakness (-8% in the same period). Total OLED smartphone shipments in 2017 reached 128 million, up 8% compared to 2016. OLED penetration was up only 1% (to 15%) in 2017.

Oppo R11s photo

CLSA sees lower demand in 2018 and 2019 compared to early estimates - 175 million in 2018 and 225 million in 2019. That's 11% (2018) and 20% (2019) lower than CLSA's earlier estimates. CLSA is less optimistic than before regarding the ramp-up at Tianma, Truly and CSoT.

Japan Display finds it more challenging than expected to find partners for its OLED project

In August 2017, Japan Display announced a strategic focus on OLED displays as the losing display maker failed to keep up with the industry shift to OLEDs. JDI announced it will raise funds to accelerate its OLED plans and prepare for mass production in 2019.

In October 2017 Japan Display estimated that it will require more than 200 billion Yen (around $1.77 billion USD) to start mass producing OLEDs in 2019, and the company started reaching out to display makers in China and Korea as finding a partner in Japan is difficult. JDI hoped to finalize its financing by March 2018, but according to a new report from Japan the investors in China, while initially eager to participate, are now hesitating.

OLED Ink-jet printing market situation, early 2018

Many OLED producers believe that Ink-Jet printing of OLED emissive materials is the best way to achieve lower-cost OLED TV production, and to enable OLEDs to compete in the medium part of the TV market. Ink-Jet printing is an efficient process (less material waste compared to evaporation) and it can be very quick as well. The main drawbacks of inkjet are the limited resolution and the need for soluble emissive materials which are less efficient compared to evaporation ones.

A Kateeva OLED ink-jet printing system

These challenges are being overcome, and it seems that at least four groups (in Korea, Japan and China) are charging forward towards mass production of ink-jet printed OLEDs. Ink-jet printer makers and soluble material suppliers are also optimistic ink-jet printing commercialization will soon be here as the material performance gap is diminishing.

Kyulux - Hyperfluoresence OLED emittersKyulux - Hyperfluoresence OLED emitters