[THE INVESTOR] Samsung Display’s shipments of organic-light emitting diode panels have more than doubled over the past year, as global smartphone manufacturers, including those in China, are increasingly adopting OLED displays.
UBI Research, a local market research firm that specializes in OLED, estimates that Samsung’s OLED shipments have soared to about 86.7 million units in the first three months of this year.
The research results were obtained exclusively by The Investor.
Curved display of Samsung Galaxy S7 (Bloomberg)
Over the same period, total global OLED shipments surged to 91.3 million units, with Samsung making up a whopping 95 percent of this number.
Samsung, a dominant player in OLED for mobile devices, now supplies displays for almost all OLED smartphones worldwide. In the first quarter alone, there were 17 announcements of new OLED smartphones globally, up from just five a year ago.
“Samsung Electronics is extending its smartphone lineup with OLED displays and its Chinese rivals are also fast catching up,” said Yi Choong-hoon, the chief analyst of UBI Research.
UBI predicted that Samsung Display, an affiliate of Samsung Electronics, could gain a big boost when its planned supply to Apple’s iPhone starts from as early as next year. Flexible OLEDs, which are used in Samsung’s latest Galaxy S7 Edge smartphone that has a curved screen, made up 14 percent of the company’s total shipments in the first quarter. The figure is expected to surge in the coming years with growing demand.
Samsung is widely rumored to be launching a “foldable smartphone” using flexible OLED technology next year.
LG Display, which has put more focus on OLEDs for TVs, also saw shipments almost quadruple in the first quarter of this year. Along with LG Electronics, the company has also started supplying to China’s Skyworth.
“The global OLED market is dominated by Samsung and LG,” Lee said.
“But Chinese rivals are also beefing up OLED production for smartphones. Adding to AUO and BOE, other Chinese firms such as Visonox and Tianma started their own OLED production in the first quarter.”
Samsung Display plans to increase the production capacity of its A3 plant from the monthly 15,000 units this year to 105,000 units by the end of next year. In the first quarter, the company invested 1.8 trillion won ($1.5 billion) into its production facility.
“Korea, Japan and Chinese display makers are all reducing LCD production while increasingly turning to OLED,” said Kim Dong-won, an analyst at Hyundai Securities.
“OLED adoption among display makers and handset manufacturers is expected to further speed up as Apple’s iPhone is highly likely to feature an OLED display later in 2017.”
By Lee Ji-yoon (email@example.com