[News] Possible 30% Cut in Orders for New iPad Pro, Impacting TSMC, Foxconn, and Novatek

Apple’s upcoming iPad Pro, featuring an OLED screen for the first time, is scheduled to be released in March or April. However, recent market reports suggest a potential 30% reduction in the estimated order volume, indicating Apple’s cautious outlook on the new product. It’s anticipated that suppliers in the supply chain such as LG Display (LGD), TSMC, Foxconn, and Novatek will also be affected.

Aju Korea Daily, citing industry sources, reported that Apple has reduced the OLED screen orders for its new iPad Pro. The initial order of 10 million units has been adjusted to a range of 7 million to 8 million units. LGD is expected to be the most impacted, with the supply scale decreasing from 6 million units to a minimum of 3 million units, while Samsung maintains a supply of 4 million units.

Industry speculation suggests that the reduction in the initial order may be due to a cautious outlook on the demand in the early stages of the product launch. The pricing of the new iPad Pro has not been determined, but it is likely to be higher than the current iPad with an LCD screen.

Historically, all iPad models from Apple have utilized LCD panels. However, this year’s release of the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models marks the first time Apple is incorporating OLED panels.

On another note, in addition to applying OLED screens to the iPad Pro this year, Apple reportedly plans to use them in future laptop products such as the MacBook. Therefore, the performance of the OLED iPad in terms of sales will serve as a significant market indicator for Apple’s future ventures into OLED technology.

Additionally, the adoption of OLED screens will result in an increase in the price of the iPad Pro. The loyalty of iPad consumers has traditionally been lower than that of iPhone users, posing a challenge for Apple in achieving strong performance this year.

The estimated order volume reduction is expected to have an impact on the iPad Pro supply chain, affecting key manufacturers such as TSMC, Foxconn, and Novatek.

According to sources cited by the Economic Daily News, TSMC is the exclusive supplier of Apple’s chips, while Foxconn is the main assembly plant for the iPad Pro. Novatek is a supplier of OLED screen driver ICs for the Korean market. However, the mentioned companies have refrained from commenting on specific clients and products.

TSMC has been the primary manufacturer of main chips for various Apple devices. Last year, there were reports in the market that Apple secured TSMC’s 3-nanometer production capacity for at least a year.

Despite current market uncertainties, TSMC estimates that the semiconductor market will see a growth of over 10% this year, with the foundry industry expected to grow by 20%. TSMC’s financial performance is projected to outpace industry standards, demonstrating quarterly growth.

Novatek previously indicated that there might be competition in the OLED driver IC sector this year. Nevertheless, the company plans to continue its strategic focus on advanced products such as applications for foldable devices, OLED touch, and integrated touch and display driver ICs (TDDI).

As for Foxconn, the company is gradually entering the traditional off-season. Seasonal performance is expected to be similar to the past three years. In the first quarter of 2023, higher shipment volume resulting from the resumption of normal production in Chinese factories post-pandemic is anticipated to lead to a year-on-year decline in performance for the first quarter of this year.

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(Photo credit: Apple)

Please note that this article cites information from Economic Daily News and Aju Korea Daily 


[News] Leak Reveals LGD as the Largest Supplier of Apple’s OLED iPad Pro Screen

Recent revelations from South Korean source yeux1122 indicate that LG Display (LGD) holds a higher share than Samsung Display in the supply of OLED screens for Apple’s new iPad Pro.

The leak suggests that LGD is planning to commence mass production of OLED screens for Apple’s iPad Pro in February 2024, with an estimated annual output ranging from 6.2 to 6.5 million screens.

Currently, Apple’s iPad Pro series products utilize LCD and mini-LED display screens. However, it is anticipated that in 2024, Apple will introduce an OLED version of the iPad Pro.

The leak also indicates that LGD has taken the lead by deploying a two-stack tandem structure and excelling in the supply of organic material devices compared to the Samsung camp.

On the other hand, Samsung faced several yield-related challenges during the supply process, but most of these issues have now been officially resolved. The initial estimate suggests that Samsung will supply around 4 million screens to Apple.

In fact, according to other industry sources, Apple already began discussions with two major suppliers, Samsung and LGD, regarding the OLED version supply for the iPad approximately 2-3 years ago, and set LGD’s supply volume to be larger than that of Samsung.

For the upcoming OLED iPad Pro models, the screen sizes are expected to slightly increase to 11 inches and 13 inches, with Wi-Fi and 5G models having the codenames J717, J718, J720, and J721.

Another rumor has previously revealed that the next iPad Pro, which is set to come out in 2024 as per the report, may support MagSafe wireless charging. The prototype has a glass Apple logo on the back, while the rest of the back remains aluminum. This design allows power to be transmitted through the glass logo without affecting the durability of the iPad.

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(Photo credit: Apple)

Please note that this article cites information from Naver and Chosun Biz


[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.

(Source: https://www.yicai.com/news/101866356.html)

OLED Auto Panel Market Share Set to Hit 10% by 2026

The latest “Automotive Display Market Analysis” from TrendForce indicates that the overall demand for automotive display panels (automotive panels) is gradually stabilizing and shows an upward trend as the automotive market as a whole slowly recovers, and promotional activities related to smart cockpits continue to expand. TrendForce estimates that the overall supply of automotive panels will maintain growth for 2023. Additionally, by 2026, TrendForce forecasts that the annual total supply of automotive panels will surpass 240 million pieces. Furthermore, as panel makers improve their OLED products in terms of performance and cost optimization, the market share of OLED in the market for automotive panels is forecasted to reach 8.9% by 2026.

The ongoing inflation has resulted in a significant decline in the demand for consumer electronics, prompting panel manufacturers to shift their focus towards automotive displays. Regarding the development of automotive panels, automobile manufacturers are now increasingly demanding greater integration in terms of design and functionality. This opens up new opportunities for panel makers to expand their presence downstream by offering system integration services. Panel makers aim to loosen the tight control that traditional Tier-1 automotive suppliers have over various automotive parts and components. Specifically, for displays used in cockpit systems, panel manufacturers are looking to establish a new kind of supply relationship with automobile manufacturers.

Automotive displays, including rear-seat entertainment screens, passenger-side displays, central information displays, and digital clusters, are evolving into more powerful communication mediums. Moreover, to integrate the various independent functions found in a traditional cockpit, larger screens and more flexible spatial designs are required. Hence, there is room for further advancements in various display technologies. For instance, pairing LCDs with a Mini LED backlight can significantly boost display brightness to over 1,000 nits, thereby improving display visibility when external conditions like snow and bright sunlight could cause interference. OLED panels, in contrast to traditional LCDs, offer notable advantages. They are self-emissive and thinner. They have a higher refresh rate and can be built on flexible substrates. These advantages can provide significant added value for automotive displays. Flexible OLED panels, in particular, allow for more innovations in vehicle design and are primarily positioned for flagship and high-end products in the automotive market.

In order to resolve the issue of durability for OLED among automotive applications, the technology is mostly adopted with Tandem OLED, which inter-concatenates and stacks multiple OLED components to form a high-efficiency OLED structure. Double-stacked OLED components require 1/2 less current density than that of single-layer variations after concatenation and are able to improve by a minimum of a twofold increase in lifespan under a much lower power consumption from panels. As for cost, Hybrid OLED panels are incorporated, where the assimilation between rigid OLED glass substrates and the thin-film packing technology used by flexible OLED would both reduce weight and cut cost, and curving effects can also be attained through thinned substrates.

TrendForce commented that a closer partnership between panel makers and automobile manufacturers is bound to be inevitable, should the former wish to expedite their market shares, seeing how automotive displays require approximately 2-3 years for testing and qualification. Subsequent to Samsung Display successively acquiring major orders from Ferrari and BMW, automotive leader LG Display has also announced to enhance its partnership with 9 luxury automotive brands by widening in incorporation of high-end automotive OLED panels, and is scheduled to mass produce its second-generation Tandem OLED, which has been vastly improved in brightness and power consumption. While LCD adopted with Mini LED BLU (Mini LED backlight technology) races to seize the automotive market through cost advantages, OLED is accelerating its entry into the high-end automotive display market by launching ultra-large, rollable, and transparent products.

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