Sharp and Innolux to integrate their display business - with a focus on IGZO and OLEDs

A few weeks after Sharp agreed to sell a two-thirds stake to Foxconn (Hon Hai Precision) for $3.5 billion, the Taiwanese company is starting to integrate Sharp's display business with Innolux, Foxconn Taiwanese display arm.

Innolux AMOLED prototype, 2012Innolux AMOLED prototype, 2012

Today we hear a report from Taiwan that Innolux's chairman Tuan Hsing-chien has resigned from his roles at Innolux, and will head to Sharp to help integrate the two display makers. Tuan will help Sharp and Innolux focus on IGZO backplanes and OLED diisplays - aiming to enhance the competitiveness of Sharp's LCD business - and find opportunities for cooperation between the two companies.

Foxconn/Sharp to allocate $1.8 billion towards OLED development and production

Last week Sharp agreed to sell a two-thirds stake to Foxconn (Hon Hai Precision) for $3.5 billion. According to Digitimes Research, Foxconn and Sharp's post-acquisition focus will be on OLEDs, and out of the total investment $1.8 billion will be allocated for OLED technology.

Foxconn aims to start producing IGZO-based OLEDs for smartphones in 2018 (probably they aim to become Apple's 2nd OLED supplier) and then to start developing larger OLEDs too. Digitimes layers our Foxconn's plans - 3 million tablet/notebook panels in 2021 and 10.4 million panels in 2025. In 2021 Foxconn will also start producing OLED TV panels - 252,000 panels in 2021 and 7.2 million panels in 2025.

Foxconn acquires a controlling stake in Sharp for $3.5 billion

A few weeks ago Sharp agreed to sell a two-thirds stake to Foxconn (Hon Hai Precision) for $5.8 billion - but following new disclosed liabilities of around $2.7 billion the deal was canceled, and today the two companies announced a new, in which Foxconn will pay $3.5 billion.

This is the largest acquisition ever by a foreign company in a Japanese tech company and it ends the independence of a 100-year-old company. Foxconn also received an option to increase its stake in Sharp in 2017.

Foxconn wants to buy a large stake in Sharp, deal not finalized yet

Sharp announced that it will sell a two-thirds stake to Foxconn, in a deal worth $5.8 billion - but since then new material information has emerged and the deal has been put on hold. According to reports, Sharp disclosed new liabilities of around $2.7 billion. Foxconn and Sharp are still negotiating.

Foxconn production line photo

Foxconn aims to buy Sharp to boost its product offerings to Apple - and will make Foxconn Apple's main contract manufacturer and component supplier. Sharp is a leader in IGZO-based LCD production, and is also developing OLED technologies, although the display maker has no immediate plans to start producing AMOLED panels.

LGD struggling with flexible OLED production yields, Apple scales back Watch production

Apple is set to start shipping the Watch wearable device in exactly one month (on April 24th)- with its flexible plastic-based AMOLED display produced by LG Display. A report from China claims that Apple has cut the expected monthly production rate by 50% - due to problems with the AMOLED display.

Apple Watch photo

The report suggests that LG Display struggles with production yields, and Apple only accepts around 30-40% of the screens produced by LGD. Apple planned to produce about 2.5-3 million Watch devices each month, and this has been scaled back to 1.25-1.5 million devices.

Rumors suggest Apple is considering OLED displays for the 2016 iPhone 7

Rumors are starting to circulate regarding Apple's next phone, and of course, as always, some of the rumors suggest an OLED display. With Apple finally adopting an OLED display for the Watch product, will they really use an OLED display in the next iPhone?

So first of all, the current rumors say that Apple approached Foxconn with a request to develop OLED technologies so it will be ready to mass produce them for the iPhone 7. It is reported that Apple aims to use a 5-inch 400 PPI panel, and some suggest that Apple is interested to use a flexible OLED display in a curved design.

Is Foxconn aiming to start flexible OLED production by 2016?

In the past couple of years, several reports claimed that China's Hon Hai Precision Industry, or Foxconn, is starting to develop OLED displays, with the latest one being a rather confusing one about an 8.5-Gen LTPS fab in Taiwan.

Foxconn production line photo

An article from Japan now says that Foxconn is developing 5" flexible OLED displays, with first samples shipping by 2016, and limited low-scale production slated for 2016 as well. Foxconn is one of Apple's major suppliers.

Foxconn's Tianyi seeks to establish an 8.5-Gen LTPS LCD/OLED fab in Taiwan

In past years we heard several reports saying that China's Hon Hai (Foxconn) is starting to develop OLED displays. Now digitimes reports that Tianyi Display Technology (part of the Hon Hai Group) is planning to establish an LTPS fab in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. This fab will be used to produce both LCD and OLED displays.

Foxconn production line photo

Tianyi reportedly plans to rent an existing 8.5-Gen fab that is owned by Innolux (Hon Hai is a shareholder in Innolux). If all goes well, mass production is expected to begin in late 2015. It's likely that they will start with LTPS-LCD production and move to OLEDs later (this is the plan currently underway by several display makers in China). This is a bit confusing as this is a large (8.5-gen) fab that is probably geared to TV panel production and not small displays for mobile devices (which is Foxconn's reported production goal).

Foxconn to start developing AMOLED panels with an aim to supply Apple?

In August we heard a report from Japan that Taiwan's Hon Hai (Foxconn) is establishing an OLED R&D center in Japan (possibly in partnership with Sharp's Sakai Display Product) with an aim to start AMOLED panel production in 2015. Today Taiwan's OFWeek reports that Hon Hai is developing high resolution OLEDs aimed for mobile phone and tablets with plans to start volume production in 2015.

Foxconn production line photo

According to the report, Hon hai will first develop OLED panels with 350 PPI, and will supply them to Chinese mobile phone makers. Then the company will produce high-resolution panels (up to 450 PPI) as they hope to supply OLED panels to Apple.

Atomic Force Microscopy for next-gen OLED processesAtomic Force Microscopy for next-gen OLED processes