Chinese OLED manufacturers to catch up with Samsung/LG in two or three years


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South Korean companies (basically Samsung and LG) have been at the top of the display panel market for many years. However, after more than 20 years of hard work, Chinese companies have now toppled South Korea in the field of LCD panels. BOE is now the world’s top LCD company and Korean manufacturers are basically withdrawing from the LCD market. The next goal for Chinese manufacturers is OLED panels. For small and medium-sized OLED panels, the Chinese have a target to catch up with Korean manufacturers in two or three years.

Apple's OLED screen BOE

At present, OLED panels are mainly used in smartphones and other products. The leading players in this market are South Korea’s Samsung and LG. In the past few years, Samsung almost monopolized the OLED mobile panel market. At the end of 2019, Samsung still controlled 88.1% of the OLED market (for smartphones). In terms of panel market share, China’s BOE, Huaxing Optoelectronics, Visionox, Tianma, and Huiguang Optoelectronics all have single-digit shares.

However, the situation is different now. Chinese manufacturers have begun to vigorously build OLED production lines in the past one or two years. According to statistics, there are currently more than 10 OLED production lines for sixth-generation lines. Two or three years later, China’s OLED production lines, especially flexible OLED production lines can catch up with South Korea.

However, in the field of large-size OLED panels, Chinese manufacturers still lack a sense of presence. In this field, even Samsung is not very competitive as its brother, LG has the main say. LG’s large-screen OLED products are still unique.

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Chinese OLED manufacturers to improve their OLED market share

At present, smartphones account for a large proportion of the global OLED screens. DSCC (Display Supply Chain Consultants) predicts in a report that the OLED panels used in smartphones will account for $26.6 billion in the global OLED panel market. This market will have a total of about 33 billion in revenue this year. This means that smartphones account for over 80%.

The proportion of smartphone OLED panel revenue has increased significantly. Technically, this means that BOE’s share of global OLED panel revenue will also increase significantly. DSCC data shows BOE’s OLED panel revenue in the first quarter of this year. Its global share has increased from 2.6% in the fourth quarter of last year to 5.6%.

In other reports, DSCC also believes that Apple’s expenses this year on OLED panels will hit $9.8 billion. This means that it will account for about 30% of the global OLED panel expenditures. This figure shows that Apple will be the largest OLED display buyer this year.

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