TrendForce’s latest report on indicates that OLED panels will secure more than 50% market share in the smartphone industry by 2023, thanks to a continuous decrease in costs. However, the OLED penetration rate in other applications like TV, laptop, and tablets is considerably less, standing at under 3%. To boost the market penetration of OLEDs, panel manufacturers must tackle more demanding technical challenges, including improved specifications and the need for effective cost reductions to meet market expectations.
The report highlights the introduction of eLEAP technology by Japan Display Inc. (JDI). For the first time, this technology employs a maskless technique, achieving lower power consumption, higher brightness, and an extended lifespan. Two primary obstacles in high-generation OLED development—RGB evaporation interference and uneven film thickness caused by gravity-induced sag of the Fine Metal Mask (FMM) as it enlarges—are addressed by eLEAP. By resolving these issues, eLEAP bolsters the development of higher-generation panels and increases production efficiency via mass production.
In parallel developments, Visionox showcased its maskless ViP technology at the Society for Information Display’s annual Display Week. The company has successfully reduced the gap between pixels by combining the lithographic isolation of pixels with advanced evaporation technology. Furthermore, when the resolution reaches 800 PPI, the distance between the pixel layers is reduced to 10µm, which increases the opening rate by 31.9%, effectively enhancing the lifespan of the OLED. However, challenges include the need to produce guide pillars for isolation, using line-source evaporation to control the evaporation angle, connecting the cathode and isolation pillars to reduce electrode impedance (auxiliary electrode), and managing yield loss from repeated processes.
TrendForce has identified five advantages that Visionox's ViP technology has five distinct advantages for isolating OLED pixels. First, the manufacturing process can address the color mixing yield issues caused by long-term FMM evaporation. Second, individual pixel electrodes can not only increase overall lifespan but also mitigate losses from leakage currents. Third, pixel density and brightness can be effectively elevated. Fourth, the concurrent production of auxiliary electrodes could facilitate larger OLED applications in the future. Lastly, the technology can overcome the limitations FMM imposes on pixel spacing, thus broadening its applications and aiding future high-generation development.
Recently, several key industry players have announced ambitious plans. Samsung declared an investment plan for its new G8.7 fab, BOE is planning its B16 project, JDI and HKC formed a strategic alliance for new technologies, and Visionox has an aggressive push into OLED technology and its market sectors. These developments are responding not only to Apple's demand for medium-sized applications but also opening up new opportunities for OLED panels in other application markets. By 2025, it is anticipated that with the completion of new high-generation facilities, continued technology development, and lifespan improvement of materials, the market penetration rate of OLED products will be significantly bolstered.
Currently, China’s AMOLED production capacity accounts for 43.7% of the global market, slightly less than the capacity share held by South Korean panel manufacturers. This capacity is divided among 4 to 5 Chinese panel factories. As the current AMOLED capacity is oversupplied and it’s expected that future production capacity will only continue to grow, companies focusing exclusively on OLED production will likely continue to grapple with financial pressures. It remains to be seen whether these companies will adopt a similar collaboration model to JDI and HKC given their varying technical capabilities. Through the development of new technologies and strategic alliances or integrations, they will aim to enhance their overall international competitiveness—a development worth watching over the next 3 to 5 years.
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