[New] The Reality of Micro LED Unveiled – Infinite Opportunities, Yet Initial Capacity Demand Remains Low


Ennostar, a Taiwanese group focusing on the R&D and manufacturing of Micro LED, LED and compound semiconductor, has announced on January 19th a NTD 670 million (roughly USD 21.36 million) sale of the planned Micro LED production facility in Zhunan, Taiwan.

Its subsidiary, EPISTAR, is anticipated to expedite Micro LED development by integrating existing resources in alternative locations.

According to TechNews’ report, Chin-Yung Fan, chairman of EPISTAR, anticipates “symbolic revenue” from Micro LED starting this year. He notes that in 2021, with the rise of Micro LED and Mini LED, existing facilities were insufficient. While planning to build new facilities based on customer demand and market predictions, the pandemic delayed many new technologies.

Following the integration of Ennostar’s factory resources, which are now available for EPISTAR’s use, the decision has been made to sell the Zhunan facility.

During an earnings call in 2023, Ennostar mentioned that the initial capacity demand for Micro LED is still low. Consequently, the company has slightly postponed its plans for new production capacity and will closely monitor the actual market demand.

Fan also emphasized that the volume of Micro LED will undoubtedly increase, and the significant symbolic revenue is expected around 2027, given the longer evaluation time for Micro LED in automotive applications.

However, the sale of Ennostar’s factory also highlights the delayed mass production of Micro LED. Currently, Micro LED is primarily used in large display products like TVs and small displays for smartwatches.

AUO, a Taiwanese company that specializes in optoelectronic solutions, commenced Micro LED production at the end of last year, supplying to high-end smartwatch clients, expected to achieve cost efficiency.

As for Samsung and LG, they view Micro LED TVs as a core market, aiming to enhance profitability through positioning them as high-end television options. At CES 2024, Samsung showcased a transparent Micro LED screen, reaffirming the potential of Micro LED as the next-generation display technology. However, due to the high unit price, mass adoption in the consumer market is currently limited.

Furthermore, despite being a key industry influencer, Apple has not yet integrated Micro LED into its product roadmap. Notably, the Vision Pro, currently available for pre-orders, opts for Micro OLED instead, signaling that the practical implementation of Micro LED in products may still be some time away.

Although it will take some time for mass production to ramp up, Taiwanese manufacturers are actively laying the groundwork for Micro LED technology. Major Micro LED manufacturers, such as PlayNitride, have signed production line construction contracts with EPISTAR and AUO.

EPISTAR has completed construction by the end of last year, while AUO is expected to have production capacity by the end of next year. Both AUO and Innolux, under the umbrella of the CarUX initiative, showcased Micro LED automotive technology at this year’s CES.

Innolux has also purchased a significant amount of transfer equipment from PlayNitride, further enhancing the completeness of the Taiwanese Micro LED supply chain.

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(Photo credit: AUO)

Please note that this article cites information from TechNews.


[News] LGD Set to Unveil 136-Inch Micro LED Display Next Year in Collaboration with Unikorn Semiconductor

According to the news from Taiwan tech media, TechNews, in a groundbreaking move, Samsung has unveiled its inaugural 110-inch Micro LED television, signaling a significant foray into the premium TV segment. Not to be outdone, competitor LG Display (LGD) is reportedly poised to make its own mark by launching a 136-inch Micro LED smart display next year, with initial applications targeted at theaters, indoor conference rooms, and other similar venues.

According to insider sources, LGD is gearing up for mass production of its impressive 136-inch Micro LED display, expected to commence around July of the upcoming year. The initial production goal is set at over 100 units, with deployment primarily earmarked for theaters, indoor conference facilities, and possibly large-scale corporate headquarters.

Notably, LGD’s ambitious 136-inch smart display project is a collaborative effort with Micro LED from Unikorn Semiconductor, which is a subsidiary under Ennostar. Unikorn emphasized the paramount significance of this partnership, affirming substantial breakthroughs in both quality and yield through their joint endeavors. By elaborating during a recent press conference, underlining the imminent production review phase scheduled for the third and fourth quarters – a pivotal juncture that could potentially elevate Micro LED’s contribution to Unikorn’s revenue to a significant proportion. Interestingly, this timeline harmonizes with LGD’s projected rollout of their Micro LED smart display.

But, Ennostar has no comment regarding this development, refraining from disclosing any customer-related particulars.

LGD is currently making assertive strides in the fiercely competitive Micro LED technology landscape. Notably, LGD recently acquired a set of 14 U.S. patents related to Micro LED technology from Taiwanese firm Ultra Display Technology, according to reports from, The Elec, a South Korean media outlet. These patents encompass crucial transfer processes, underscoring LGD’s strategic approach.

Furthermore, whispers from the industry suggest that Apple’s extensive Micro LED transfer process for the Apple Watch could see a significant handover to LGD. This would entail LGD overseeing an integrated workflow, encompassing chip manufacturing, backplane assembly, and transfer processes, while Apple retains responsibility for device design and pivotal technical support. The anticipated mass production timeline for the Micro LED-equipped Apple Watch has been deferred to the first quarter of 2026, a delay likely attributed to the recalibration of the production supply chain.

(Photo credit: LGD)


Ennostar may take the lead on Micro LED chips from the delayed of Apple Watch launches?

Apple’s plan to release the first Apple Watch with a Micro LED display in 2024 has reportedly been delayed until the second half of 2025 or later due to production challenges. However, this delay shows Apple’s cautious approach to technology and evaluation. This delay shows Apple’s prudence and assessment of technology, but it also brings new opportunities for Ennostar, which was previously considered only a second supplier

According to market research firm DSCC’s, the new Apple Watch will initially adopt Osram’s Micro LED chips, and Epistar(under Ennostar), will be responsible for shipping related components. However, some insiders have revealed that Osram’s technology produces Vertical Chips, which are different from Epistar’s technology and are unlikely to be used in the same project simultaneously.

Epistar’s current chip technology is Flip Chips, Ennostar has stated that American brands are currently collaborating with European suppliers, and Epistar “may have a chance” to be the second supplier, however, ‘the second supplier” may not have a chance to join the cast until 2026.

DSCC mentioned that Epistar is responsible for shipping related components, which differs from what Ennostar said “second supplier”. Technically speaking, Ennostar is more likely to be a “parallel competitor” to Osram since the process of Vertical Chips versus Flip Chips are not on the same technical base. From this perspective, obviously, Apple has dual strategies on Micro LED from adopting Osram’s Vertical Chips as the core and maintaining the technical connections with Taiwanese manufacturers at the same time, which Ennostar may have a shot to ramp up to the main supplier again to take off the “second source” label.

Does the Micro LED process hint at Apple’s product line planning?

Micro LED chips now are mainly categorized into Vertical, Lateral, and Flip chips. According to industry insiders, Osram began developing Micro LED in 2019 but only focused on vertical chips due to patent issues. Currently, only 3 companies in the world have patents for Vertical Chips, and Osram is likely to gain a competitive advantage in Micro LED through these patents. As a result, the company is targeting the development of watches, phones, and AR glasses, and has been collaborating with Apple on watch projects in Germany since 2019. The size of the watch chip produced in collaboration with Apple is approximately 8um.

Meanwhile, Osram announced in 2021 that it is expanding its LED factory in Kulim, Malaysia with an investment of approximately $850 million, and plans to produce Mini LED and Micro LED chips in its 8-inch factory, with mass production expected in 2024. The company also mentioned last year that it plans to produce small-sized products by 2024, and this small-sized product is very likely to be Apple’s Apple Watch.

As for companies such as PlayNitride, Epistar, and Chinese manufacturers that are working on Micro LED technology, they are all using flip chips. PlayNitride stated that they have the opportunity to produce Lateral Chips as client’s request, and Vertical Chips may be produced for AR and VR in the future. “It still depends on the customer’s application to determine what kind of chips matches their products, e.g. Vertical Chips can bring higher PPI with a smaller size of chips.” PlayNitirde said.

Due to differences in the position of electrodes among Vertical chips, Lateral chips, and Flip Chips, give their own pros and cons in each production process. The advantage of Vertical Chips is that they can be made smaller, and the yield rate is higher as the size gets smaller. However, it is difficult to test and repair them once all the Micro LEDs are arranged and connected for testing, so the yield rate may decrease during the bonding process.

Vertical Chips are now suitable for use in the fields of watches, smartphones, and AR glasses, while Lateral Chips are used for other applications like automotive or large displays. However, AUO plans to produce Micro LED watches using Flip Chips, showing that different technologies can still be applied to similar products. In the future, using Vertical Chips may be necessary for developing AR glasses, which may explain why Apple is using this technology in its Apple Watch.

With the dawn of the era of Micro LED mass production, what will be Apple’s strategy?

Apple’s influence in display technology development affects other brands’ adoption attitudes. To reduce risks, Apple is not taking sides as different technologies and processes are involved, which may pose challenges to transfer technology or backplane technology, affecting the entire Micro LED supply chain. For the next generation Apple Watch, Apple is mainly working with Osram for Vertical MicroLED Chips, but may also collaborate with Taiwanese companies on Lateral or Flip Chips in the future.(Image credit: TechNews)

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