Dec 28, 2016: With the aim to win new orders for Apple’s iPhone, leading Korean players Samsung Display and LG Display are set to battle it out in the flexible OLED leadership domain by investing on a massive scale. Their combined investment in flexible OLED will reach a record high of US$11.6 billion in 2016, according to a recent analysis.
Apple plans to adopt flexible OLEDs for its next-generation iPhone 8, which is rumored to hit the market in 2017. The iPhone is one of the best selling smartphones across the globe with 200 million units being sold each year. OLED panels will surpass half of total panels for the iPhone by the beginning of 2018, according to industry experts.
Samsung’s OLED strategies
In order to use OLED even in half of its entire iPhone unit, Apple will have to order around 100 million OLED panels each year. Such a situation may allow Samsung to have all Apple orders to itself as it is expanding its OLED production capacity to 70,000 units a month by the beginning of 2017. 70,000 units a month is equivalent to 170 million 5.5-inch panels each year.
Samsung, which accounts for 95% of the global small and mid-sized OLED market, will invest US$4.47 billion in OLEDs in the fourth quarter of 2016. The company’s total investment in OLEDs for 2016 has reached a record high annual investment of US$9.7 billion.
LG’s OLED strategies
On the other hand, LG will make a full-scale investment in flexible OLED displays in 2016. The size of its facility investment for 2016 is about 4.5 trillion won, and half of the investment will go for flexible OLEDs.
In war over OLED, Samsung, LG’s investments to hit US$11.6
Huge investment of about 1 trillion won in E5 line in Gumi in 2015 has now reached the phase to move in equipment, hence,the line will begin to function in the first half of 2017.
Further, LG is enforcing investment in the POLED line (E6), and has mapped out around 2 trillion won investment in July 2016. Most of the investment in E6 will be made in 2017 and 2018, when the factory in Paju will begin to manufacture OLED panels. LG will carry out the investment of around 10 trillion won to be invested in P10 line.
LG will mass-produce flexible OLED displays in the beginning of 2017 when its E5 line in Gumi will penetrate into its operation stage. At present, LG is going through a tug of war with Apple over the supply of OLEDs from E5 line for iPhone 5.