[News] Can Mini LED Overcome Challenges Post-Apple’s Shift? Explore Its Prospects Beyond Apple’s Favor


In the past few years, the rapid growth of the Mini LED backlight market has been closely tied to the support from consumer electronics giant Apple. Apple pioneered the integration of Mini LED backlight technology into tablet products, sparking increased demand for Mini LED technology in the consumer market. However, it seems that Apple is now steering away from the Mini LED backlight technology path.

Recently, well-known Apple supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo released a 2024 forecast report for the new iPad models. The upcoming iPad Pro is expected to replace the current Mini LED backlight panel with an OLED panel.

Additionally, the 12.9-inch version of the iPad Air model will feature an Oxide backplane, similar to the one used in Mini LED backlight panels, to enhance display performance.

From Apple’s strategic shift in abandoning Mini LED in favor of OLED for iPad Pro, it appears that the primary consideration is cost.

While the manufacturing process for Mini LED has matured in recent years, resulting in continuous cost reductions, the current cost of Mini LED remains higher compared to the more established and mature OLED technology.

In contrast, OLED’s cost performance is noteworthy. According to observations from TrendForce, OLED manufacturers have committed to investing in 8.5th generation OLED for laptops and tablets this year, indicating a potential further decrease in OLED costs.

Furthermore, OLED offers features such as slim design, low power consumption, quick response, high clarity, and flexibility, similar to Mini LED backlight technology.

This not only enhances the display performance of iPad Pro but also optimizes aspects like thickness, weight, and energy consumption, aligning with the characteristics of portable tablet products.

Apple’s Planned Shift from Mini LED to OLED

Looking back at the development of Mini LED in recent years, Apple’s utilization of this technology has not been extensive, and it has typically been reserved for Apple’s most high-end products, such as the 2019 Pro Display XDR. Subsequent releases, including the iPad Pro and MacBook Pro, also adopted the same technology.

While Apple successfully integrated Mini LED backlight technology into the highest-end versions of displays, tablets, and laptops, some releases and production of Apple’s Mini LED backlight products were delayed during this period. This includes rumored products like the iMac Pro featuring Mini LED backlight screens and the second generation of the 27-inch display Apple Studio Display.

While Apple has been incorporating Mini LED backlight technology into high-end products, the company is also exploring the expansion of OLED technology beyond iPhones to include more devices.

Last year, it was reported that BOE is constructing an 8.6th generation OLED display production line to fulfill orders for Apple’s future iPad and MacBook models featuring OLED screens, expected to be operational by the end of 2024.

As for the upcoming iPad Pro tablet set to be launched as early as next year, there are indications that Samsung and LG will provide dual-layer OLED panels. This promises a doubling of screen brightness, an extended lifespan, and lower power consumption compared to Mini LED backlight technology.

Mini LED Backlight Demand Continues to Grow

TrendForce analysis indicates that, influenced by the Apple brand effect, Mini LED backlight has officially entered the application markets of laptops and tablets. However, due to high costs, Apple has notably slowed down the pace of introducing Mini LED backlight to laptops and tablets.

While the change in Apple’s display technology roadmap has had a certain impact on the Mini LED backlight market, especially in tablets and laptops where Apple holds a larger share, TrendForce’s report points out that the applications of Mini LED in TVs, displays, and automotive displays are still on a growth path.

It is worth noting that the main applications in TVs and displays continue to show a growth trend, while future potential applications like automotive displays provide more possibilities for the growth of the Mini LED backlight market.

With ongoing optimization of technology and costs, the overall Mini LED backlight market is expected to maintain a growth trend.

According to data from TrendForce’s report “2024 New Mini LED BLU Display Trend Analysis“, after a brief decline in shipments in 2023, applications with Mini LED backlight technology are expected to return to growth in 2024, with an estimated shipment volume of 13.79 million units.

With the trend of Mini LED terminal products becoming more affordable, the shipment volume is expected to continue growing, reaching an estimated 31.45 million units by 2027, with a CAGR of approximately 23.9% from 2023 to 2027.

(Photo credit: Apple)


[News] Chinese panel makers cut production to shield TV panel prices, opening opportunities for Taiwanese firms

China’s top panel makers, including BOE, TCL CSOT, HKC, and CEC-CHOT, are cutting production to support TV panel prices. Speculations indicate a capacity utilization drop below 60% in the first quarter, benefiting Taiwanese panel companies like Innolux and AUO. Despite these efforts, industry sources caution of a panel industry slowdown due to reduced demand, possibly resulting in lower TV panel prices, reported by TechNews.

The memory industry saw a big downturn due to major players like Samsung, SK Hynix, and Micron drastically reducing production. This resulted in a surge in memory prices and a gradual recovery for the entire memory industry. Panel makers may adopt a similar strategy to boost the overall panel industry as well.

Chinese panel companies currently command a global market share of over 70% in TFT-LCD, with the world’s top 3 LCD panel makers from China: BOE, TCL CSOT, and HKC. As China holds the largest share of panel production capacity, a reduction in production by major players could have a more substantial impact on the panel industry compared to the effects on the memory industry caused by Samsung, Micron, and others.

According to TrendForce’s report in November, BOE began adjusting its production levels in the Q3 and will continue to do so in Q4, with an estimated decrease of 7 percentage points in utilization rates. CSOT, on the other hand, maintained high utilization rates in Q3, supported by major customer stockpiling and the ramp-up of the T9 new production line. However, due to reduced procurement of TV panels by both in-house group brands and international frontline brands, CSOT’s utilization rate is expected to decrease by about 17 percentage points to 76% in Q4.

HKC, which still has two production lines not running at full capacity, anticipates a 14 percentage point decrease in its utilization rates for Q4. This is primarily due to the need to reduce production of one of its main products, the 32-inch TV panel, to alleviate inventory pressures and avoid significant price drops.

In response to this, both Innolux and AUO express their intention to dynamically adjust production capacity utilization in line with market conditions. This strategic flexibility is aimed at fostering a more robust and balanced industry order.

Overall, most panel makers are adopting a more conservative approach to production for 1Q24. Furthermore, several panel makers have indicated a two-week Lunar New Year shutdown for 2024. As a result, TrendForce anticipates that overall Gen5+ LCD panel utilization rates may be revised down to 70% or lower in 1Q24 to maintain the market supply-demand balance.

(Image: BOE)

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[News] Samsung Ends Partnership with BOE! AUO Welcomes the Diversion Effect, but Capacity Challenges Loom

According to TechNews’ report, due to ongoing technology infringement disputes and the uncertainty in the tense relations between China and the United States, Samsung Electronics is cutting ties with the leading Chinese display supplier BOE. They are restructuring their supply chain, and other panel manufacturers such as AU Optronics (AUO), Sharp, and LG Display (LGD) are expected to benefit.

According to the Korean media outlet BusinessKorea’s report, industry insiders from South Korea revealed on the 15th that BOE is no longer among Samsung’s top three suppliers for TV panels in Q3, and its market share is starting to decline.

BOE accounted for approximately 10% of Samsung’s TV panel procurement in the first half of the year, originally ranking third among major panel suppliers.。

From the Q3 financial report, it is evident that Samsung has removed BOE from the main supplier list for TV and display screen device panels in the Device Experience (DX) division. This marks the first time since Q4 2015. Analysts believe that Samsung aims to restructure its partner relationships, focusing on domestic enterprises.

Samsung Electronics is planning to sever its medium to long-term partnership with BOE, primarily due to a patent infringement lawsuit involving its subsidiary Samsung Display (SDC) and BOE.

Insiders have revealed that collaboration between Samsung and BOE in the mobile phone panel sector has already ended. As for TV panels, the relationship has become tense due to significant cost pressure on Samsung caused by the panel manufacturer aggressively raising TV panel prices.

South Korean industry insiders anticipate that Samsung will increase collaboration with other suppliers, including LGD, Sharp, and AUO. Industry experts suggest that for next year’s TV panel procurement allocation, Samsung intends to increase the proportion of panels sourced from Japanese, Taiwanese, and South Korean manufacturers.

However, considering the significant production capacity of Chinese panel manufacturers and their production advantages in certain sizes, Samsung does not plan to completely sever cooperation.

Currently, Chinese panel manufacturers maintain an absolute advantage in global production capacity and are working to mend customer relationships. Besides, AUO’s TV panel production capacity may not be able to fully meet customer demands.

Reportedly, in preparation for the supply chain restructuring, LGD plans to increase the utilization rate of its LCD plant in Guangzhou, China, raising shipments from 9 million units this year to 16 million units next year.

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(Photo credit: AUO)


[NEWS] LGD’s 8.5Gen Panel Plant No Longer for Sale? It May Cause Global Panel Supply Diversifies

Source to YICAI, LG Displays (LGD) has decided to halt the sale of its 8.5Gen LCD panel production line in Guangzhou, China. Earlier this year, there were rumors about LGD seeking potential buyers for this facility. However, as of September 25th, LGD has announced its intention to cease the sale and aims to achieve full production capacity by the next year. This decision reflects the overall resurgence in the global LCD panel industry. Nevertheless, there remain concerns about the stability of panel prices, given the uncertainty surrounding increased panel production capacity and the recovery of end-user demand in the coming year.

Amid the shifting landscape of Korean panel companies expanding their LCD panel business and a diversifying global panel supply chain, China’s leading panel manufacturer, which currently holds over 60% of global LCD TV panel shipments, must tread cautiously.

The LGD Guangzhou 8.5Gen panel plant marked LGD’s first overseas panel production facility and held high expectations. However, due to an extended industry downturn lasting for the past couple of years, LCD panel prices plummeted below production costs. South Korea’s other panel leader, Samsung Display, even closed all of its LCD panel production lines. In response, LGD downsized its LCD panel business and planned to shift its focus towards OLED panels. In this context, the capacity utilization of LGD’s Guangzhou 8.5Gen LCD panel plant fell to half, and rumors of seeking buyers emerged.

However, by the end of June this year, LCD panel prices rebounded from their low point, returning to profitability. As we approach the final quarter of 2023, with the current LCD TV panel market in a profitable state, LGD plans to restore full production in 2024, increasing its LCD panel output from 7 million pieces this year to 16 million pieces next year.

The rebound in LCD panel prices this year is not solely due to high demand, shifting the industry from oversupply to demand-matching supply. It’s primarily because major LCD panel manufacturers have rigorously controlled production capacity and reduced output, gradually warming up panel prices and restoring profitability to the industry.

In 2023, BOE, TCL, and HKC are expected to account for more than 60% of global LCD TV panel shipments. TCL, in particular, announced a change in its operational strategy in July, shifting from full production to adjusting capacity utilization dynamically according to market demand. The revival of the panel market in the first half of this year was a result of supply-side adjustments and optimizations, as external demand didn’t experience significant growth.

With China’s National Day holiday approaching, research organizations such as AVC and GfK predict a year-on-year decline in China’s TV market during the holiday season. Next year, if demand in the consumer electronics market doesn’t fully recover, and LCD panel manufacturers significantly increase supply, there may be concerns about maintaining stability in LCD panel prices. LGD has been less inclined to engage in price wars, and this includes global players like LG Electronics, Samsung Electronics, and Skyworth, who have substantial shipments in the global TV market. However, in a stagnant market, if someone increases supply, others may be compelled to reduce shipments.

According to TrendForce Research, TrendForce reports that panel makers chose to maintain the surge in TV panel prices by controlling production as Q3 approached. Contrarily, brands, in their bid to sustain sales momentum, have not been able to transfer increased panel costs to consumers in the form of retail price hikes. This precarious balance has driven many brands to the brink of financial losses for Q3.

Notably, as international brands boost shipments gearing up for end-of-year celebrations, and with China’s Double 11 shopping festival stocking peaking at the end of September, an 11.9% increase in Q3 TV shipments is anticipated, amounting to 52.24 million units. Still, this falls 1.3% short of TrendForce’s previous estimates. The persistent rise in panel prices in 2H23 will compel brands to trim down on less profitable product lines. Consequently, the annual global TV shipment forecast has been revised downward to 198 million units, a 1.5% YoY decrease.

Next year, LGD’s increased supply of LCD panels could potentially impact partnerships between Chinese panel manufacturers and brand customers. In the context of a globally diversified TV brand supply chain, China’s leading panel companies are also accelerating their overseas expansion efforts. TCL smartphone and TV LCD module production capacity in India is already operational, and they are collaborating extensively with Indian and Chinese customers, with utilization rates reaching 70-80%.

On September 8th, BOE announced that its first-phase project in Vietnam and its Mexican plant have begun mass production for customers. BOE also disclosed plans to invest in the second-phase project in Vietnam, mainly targeting increased demand in Europe, North America, and Southeast Asia, while leveraging advantages in overseas manufacturing costs and tariffs to promote high-quality development of overseas business.


OLED Penetration in Smartphones to Exceed 50% in 2023

As costs continue to decline, it is projected that OLED technology will reach a 50% penetration rate in the smartphone market by 2023. Additionally, OLED is gradually making inroads into applications such as TVs, laptops, and tablets. According to TrendForce analysis, the current landscape of OLED technology presents various opportunities and challenges depending on the application. In the realm of smartphones, the number of OLED smartphone products is on the rise, and the technology is taking on diverse forms, including rigid OLED screens, OLED curved displays, and OLED foldable displays.

TrendForce predicts that by 2023, the penetration rate of OLED foldable smartphones will reach 1.6%, with sales volume increasing from 12.8 million units in 2022 to 18.26 million units. With advancements in OLED display specifications and increasingly competitive pricing, OLED foldable smartphones are poised to become mainstream in the market. Currently, the penetration rate of OLED foldable smartphones is relatively low, primarily because OLED technology has not fully met user demands for larger screens within the same form factor while maintaining affordability. This marks a significant development trend for foldable smartphones in the future.

In response to the ever-evolving landscape of smartphone screens and high consumer demand, panel makers are taking a multi-faceted approach to upgrading OLED technology. To achieve full-screen displays while ensuring quality in screen visuals and camera functionality, certain brands have begun utilizing hole-punch screens, integrating the camera beneath the display – a prime example being the iPhone 14 Pro series with its Dynamic Island. On the other hand, companies like Samsung, BOE, and CSOT are opting to forego punch holes altogether. Instead, they are enhancing screen transparency and incorporating the camera beneath the display by rearranging specific display area pixels and reducing size.

Panel makers are enhancing OLED technology to improve both lifespan and efficiency. They are adopting LTPO technology to dynamically adjust screen refresh rates, reducing power consumption. Additionally, for foldable screens, companies are eliminating polarizers, using color filters to reduce reflection, and switching to ultra-thin glass cover panels. These optimizations are in response to the varied demands of smartphone applications, and they signal the continued growth of OLED in future smartphone uses.

In the realm of TV, TrendForce thinks that COVID-19, geopolitics, and rising shipping costs, furthermore, companies have been focusing on the development of larger-sized TVs, particularly in the 65, 77, and 85-inch categories, causing the overall decline in the TV market in recent years. The OLED TV market is primarily dominated by Korean manufacturers LG and Samsung. TrendForce projects that in 2023, OLED TVs will account for approximately 2% to 3% of the overall TV market.

TrendForce suggests that Samsung and LG are currently enhancing OLED technology by adopting new materials and incorporating quantum dot technology to improve OLED’s luminous efficiency. This has led to an increase in the cost of OLED technology, which in turn has limited the widespread adoption of OLED TVs. However, with factors such as depreciation of production machinery, improved yield rates for OLED products, and streamlining of the production process, it is expected that OLED TV prices will gradually decrease in the future.


In 2023, OLED display shipments are expected to reach approximately 530,000 units, marking a 342% increase by YoY. However, OLED displays are projected to hold only a 2% to 3% market share in the overall display market. Within the OLED display market, LG is poised to surpass Dell and become the brand with the largest market share due to its proactive deployment of OLED product lines and diversified product offerings, along with strong demand for 27-inch products in the market.TrendForce states that the future of OLED displays lies in larger sizes, necessitating the use of higher-generation panel production lines for efficient and cost-effective OLED panel manufacturing.

Notebook, Tablet

In the laptop and tablet arena, as compared to smartphones and televisions, the application of OLED technology has been relatively limited. However, according to TrendForce, OLED technology is beginning to transition into IT-related applications. This includes innovations such as OLED Tandem device structures, as well as recent developments like JDI’s photolithography eLeap and Visionox’s ViP. These advancements are set to significantly enhance OLED performance and lifespan. When these technologies are ready for deployment, they are expected to effectively reduce OLED costs and substantially increase OLED panel penetration in the IT market.

Notably, Apple has already integrated OLED technology into its iPad products, and the Apple brand’s influence is expected to drive other brands to adopt OLED technology, accelerating OLED’s penetration in the IT market.

Automotive display

In the realm of automotive displays and other applications, TrendForce envisions a future for OLED technology characterized by transparency, extended lifespan, and versatility to meet the demands of foldable displays, automotive displays, and transparent displays. In automotive displays, OLED features such as high brightness, wide viewing angles, high contrast, and a broad operating temperature range make it suitable for applications like rear-seat entertainment systems and in-car infotainment displays. In the realm of transparent displays, OLED’s high transmittance and ability to display real-time information make it suitable for use in automotive windshields, windows, and A-pillars. Additionally, in the domain of stretchable displays, flexible OLED screens can be stretched and slid while maintaining a consistent thickness.

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