While conventional LED components are used for backlight, Micro LED and Mini LED technology have been used for self-emitting in displays of consumer electronics. Every LED will then stand for a pixel, increasing the number of LED wafers used by companies. It is estimated that wafers for applications using Micro LED and Mini LED will account for 11.4% of the total LED wafers used worldwide by 2022, according to LEDinside, a division of TrendForce. These applications will become a key driver of the market demand.
According to Roger Chu, the research director of LEDinside, the worldwide volume of 4-inch equiv. LED wafers was approximately 37 million pieces in 2017, a YoY increase of 30%. Although the rise of OLED will affect the number of LED used in backlighting of mobile phones and large-size panels, the number of LED wafers used for general lighting and automotive lighting continues to grow. Coupled with the rapid growth of fine-pitch display applications, the number of LED wafers used has increased dramatically.
However, as Chinese LED manufacturers continue to expand their capacities significantly, the overall industry capacity may grow much faster than the demand in the future. Therefore, vendors need to rely on new applications to boost the demand, in this case, the technical progress of Micro LED and Mini LED will play an important role.
In terms of the revenue of LED market, LED prices will decline further due to the substantial capacity expansion of Chinese manufacturers, but LED’s penetration continues to increase driven by general lighting and automotive lighting applications. Coupled with the new applications of Micro LED and Mini LED, it is estimated that global LED market revenue will grow from US$ 17.16 billion in 2017 to US$ 25.5 billion in 2022, with a CAGR of 7% between 2017 and 2022.
Deployment of Micro LED & Mini LED technology worldwide
Micro LED is considered as a new generation display technology due to its properties of high resolution, high brightness, power-saving, and fast response time, etc. Companies worldwide have been actively involved in the development of Micro LED products, and key players include Apple, Samsung, LG, Sony, Facebook and Google, as well as Chinese companies like San’an Optoelectronics, HC SemiTek, Changelight, Leyard and MTC, etc.
Taiwanese companies are also active in Micro LED development. The Industrial Technology Research Institute is establishing a Micro LED demo product line, which is estimated to deliver products to VR manufacturers in 3Q18 at the earliest. Other major companies such as Epistar, AU Optronics, Innolux, PlayNitride, and Macroblock etc. have all actively joined the development of related technologies.
As Micro LED technology still faces technical bottlenecks, the transitional Mini LED products are favored by manufacturers, including chip makers like Epistar, Lextar, San’an Optoelectronics, HC SemiTek, etc., packaging companies like Everlight, Advanced Optoelectronic Technology, Harvatek, Seoul Semiconductor, etc., IC designers like Macroblock, Raydium, Jasper Display, etc., panel makers like AU Optronics, and Innolux, and digital display makers like Leyard, etc.