Marking another milestone in China’s march to dominance in the global flat-panel display (FPD) market, Chinese company BOE in 2019 will surpass South Korea’s LG Display to become the world’s largest FPD supplier.
BOE’s share of FPD production capacity in 2019 is projected to rise to 17.7 percent, edging out LG Display for the first time ever, according to IHS Markit (Nasdaq: INFO), a world leader in critical information, analytics and solutions. BOE in 2019 will expand FPD production capacity to more than 59 million square meters as it ramps up production at its B9 Gen 10.5 LCD factory and its B11 Gen 6 flexible AMOLED fab.
With plans to build even more LCD and AMOLED factories, BOE will solidify its leadership position in the coming years, with more than 78 million square meters of capacity and a 21 percent market share in 2023, 30 percent more than any other manufacturer. This represents rapid progress from just a 10 percent market share four years ago, with capacity rising at a compound annual growth rate of 15.7 percent during the period from 2015 through 2023.
China ascends the global flat-panel ranks
BOE’s growth story epitomizes China’s rapid rise toward becoming the world’s top display manufacturing region.
Before 2011, China’s front-end FPD production capacity was negligible, while Korea accounted for almost 50 percent of the global market. However, backed by wide-ranging central government policy support and regional government financial assistance, China rapidly increased its share to 23 percent by 2015.
In 2019, China’s capacity has risen to more than 153 million square meters or 46 percent of the total, compared to 24 percent for both South Korea and Taiwan, according to the AMOLED and LCD Supply Demand & Equipment Intelligence Service by IHS Markit.
With five Gen 10.5 factories expected to be in full production by 2023, China will control FPD production, with 62 percent of worldwide capacity, almost four times as much as any other region.
“Chinese companies originally focused on assembling modules and sets, but over time they’ve climbed the display value chain to full LCD production—and now they’re aggressively pursuing OLED manufacturing,” said Charles Annis, senior director at IHS Markit. “BOE, for example, produces high volumes of almost every size and type of LCD, and is shipping millions of flexible AMOLED smartphone panels monthly from its B7 Chengdu factory. On top of that, the company is either producing or has plans to pursue alternative technologies, such as OLED on silicon, electrophoretic displays (EPDs), white OLED (WOLED) and inkjet-printed OLED TVs and augmented reality/virtual reality displays. BOE’s goal is to lead not only in display production, but also in technology.”
China’s regional rivals focus on AMOLED
Korean and Taiwanese panel makers are facing challenges trying to compete with the overwhelming capacity advantage that China now possesses and are rearranging their businesses to concentrate on unique and higher-end applications.
For Korean suppliers, this means focusing on AMOLEDs, where they still maintain considerable advantages in both capacity and manufacturing technology.
Samsung still holds a 70 percent share of mobile AMOLED capacity, and is expected to produce almost 90 percent of all non-TV applications in 2019. This compares to BOE’s current 13 percent of capacity and 5 percent of production. Even in 2023, Samsung is forecast to maintain a 43 percent share of AMOLED capacity, while BOE will rise to 21 percent.
LG Display remains the only company that’s mass-producing OLED televisions. Even with many demonstrations by other panel makers, none are expected to commercialize their OLED TV technologies before 2021 at the earliest.
“Despite still playing catch up in some advanced FPD technologies, China’s and BOE’s dominant position in the FPD industry is already solidified,” Annis said. “At this point, not even politics and severe trade friction between the U.S. and China are likely to alter this fact.”