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Korean Government, Will It Give Up Its Top Spot in Display Industry?

Recent Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics’ TV and smartphone performance results are causing experts to be concerned over degrowth.

 

The axis that is centering Korean industry is dependent on these 2 companies and Hyundai Motor Company. In the 20th century when technology skills were lacking, Korean government and these 3 companies closely cooperated and coordinated product development and market cultivation. The low value of KRW invigorated the 3 companies’ export business. Strong government support allowed development of products that could compete against Japanese products occupying the international market. The potential that allowed the companies to overtake Japanese firms that were dominating electronics industry and increase the international market share was based on Korean government’s diverse interest and enthusiastic backing.

 

Japan’s display industry collapsed due to several reasons. Their pride that that latecomers including Korea will not be able to catch up to their technology, the discontinuation of investment by overlooking the need of the 21st century of information for display market, and the disregard of latecomers’ price competitiveness can be attributed to the collapse.

 

Korean display companies gave up on Gen10 investment in LCD business and began localization in China though establishing Gen8 LCD factory in China. However, Chinse display companies, with the backing of their government in large scale, continue to invest despite the deficit.

 

If BOE’s Gen10.5 LCD factory is complete, China will lead the global industry in terms of yield, and overtake Korea through China’s domestic market and price competitiveness. Now there are only 2 years left. It is only a question of time before Korea’s LCD industry falls apart.

 

The only thing that is left for Korean display industry is OLED. As Korean display industry plays an important role in Korean economy, the decline of display industry will have direct impact on employment, export, and domestic market.

 

However, Korean government is currently ignoring display industry. LCD and OLED have been excluded from WTO’s tariff elimination. China, which is rapidly becoming a new contender in display industry, has agreed with the U.S. to exclude LCD and OLED advocating protection of Chinese market and industry, and other countries followed. China is adding 5% tax for 32inch products or larger; Samsung Display and LG Display are operating LCD factories in China in order to be exempt. The labor force is moving away from Korea to China. Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy is overlooking the importance of Korea’s display industry.

 

To make matters worse, Korean government has no tax regarding manufacturing equipment. When display companies import expensive manufacturing equipment, no tax is added. Recently, due to a low exchange rate of the yen, Japanese companies’ price competitiveness is 1.5 times higher than several years ago. At a time when Korean manufacturing equipment companies are losing heavily in the competition against Japanese, Korean market is actually giving up the market to Japanese companies.

 

For example, if Samsung Display and LG Display have saved 10,000,000 USD on the purchase of manufacturing equipment, the result is Korean companies’ loss of 100,000,000 USD. Although 10,000,000 USD is a large amount of money to Samsung Display and LG Display, the consequential loss of 100,000,000 USD for Korean manufacturing equipment market is even more immense.

 

The Korean display ecosystem that has been carefully established is being destroyed by its own government.

 

Although Korean government is paying lip service to build strong small and medium-sized businesses, in actuality, it is giving small amount of money to large companies and continuing to ignore smaller Korean manufacturing equipment companies. For the future of the smaller Korean manufacturing equipment companies struggling against the weak yen, a system of where they can at the very least survive in domestic market is needed.

 

Job creation for the young engineers requires more consideration for small and medium-sized businesses rather than large companies that can thrive without any help.

 

A3 Line Operation Capacity Pushes Down Galaxy S6 Edge Price

The price of Galaxy S6 Edge, which initially exceeded approximately US$ 1,200 when released, recorded US$ 739 in second week of July 2015 (source: www.amazon.com). This is more than a 40% decrease in price in about 3 months, and it is analyzed that this is 5% greater price reduction than Galaxy S6, and approximately 13% greater than Galaxy Note 4 Edge.

The period where the decrease is highest is between third and fourth week of April with approximately 23% drop. The biggest reason for this is analyzed to be active operation of A3 line from April. As A3 line began mass producing Galaxy S6 Edge flexible AMOLED panel, the supply shortage issue improved, and yield and productivity increased more than existing flexible AMOLED panel applied to Galaxy Note 4 Edge.

Samsung Display’s current flexible AMOLED panel mass production lines are a section of A2 line and A3 line. It is expected that investment that will convert a part of rigid panel A2 line to flexible will be carried out and the line will be in operation in the second half of 2015. Following this, from the second half of this year, flexible AMOLED panel mass production capacity will further improve and it will become easier to acquire the panels. The industry’s attention is focused on how Samsung Display’s flexible AMOLED line investment will affect the sales of future flexible AMOLED panel applied Galaxy models.

Galaxy S6 Series Price Change Comparison

Galaxy S6 Series Price Change Comparison

 

China’s Gen10.5 Investment, Korean Display Companies’ Countermeasure?

At the 10th National Research Development Industry General Workshop in Display (8-10 July) in Muju, South Korea, industry-academy experts gathered and held a discussion on the future display strategy under the heading ‘Korean Display Industry Crisis, What is the Solution?’.

 

At the previous keynote speech, vice president of LG Display, Yoon Sooyoung explained that the key points for the third revolution will be design innovation, design freedom differentiated though real image, and picture quality that can closely resemble visual reality. He also added that the third display is OLED that can actualize various advantages such as transparency, flexibility, and high picture quality at once, and considering material/component and mass production technology status, OLED will also be able to achieve competitive prices soon.

 

Samsung Display’s executive director Hye Yong Chu forecast next generation display will be smart display, human friendly, holographic, and disruptive innovation. Particularly she estimated that thorough size and design innovation, flexible display will be able to create new application and market and that flexible OLED will form the core.

 

The shared opinion of Samsung Display and LG Display, key Korean display companies, at the keynote session was Korean display industry’s need to lead the next generation display market in order to prepare for China’s pursuit and requirement of active participation and cooperation from industry-academy to achieve this.

 

During the panel discussion that followed the keynote session, many different opinions were suggested regarding Korean display industry status from academy-industry. Of China’s BOE’s Gen10.5 investment, Samsung Display’s Chu disclosed that investment at the right moment was more important than preemptive investment; the focus will be curved and edge display market expansion and widening the technology gap with latecomers, and investment will be carefully considered before making a decision. LG Display’s Yoon also explained that areas where cost innovation are possible are limited even with investment is carried out as the current display market is different from previous ones. He added that Gen10.5 investment has to be deliberated and emphasized that focus should be on how to make OLED competitive.

 

Against the China’s aggressive investment on Gen8 or higher, Samsung Display and LG Display’s positions are analyzed to be of same opinion of carefully considering investment while pioneering the market maximizing the existing technology prowess.

 

미래 디스플레이 전략 대토론회

 

[Expert Talk] Professor Ho Kyoon Chung of Sungkyunkwan University, Talks OLED Lighting’s Future

Professor Ho Kyoon Chung, a chair professor of Sungkyunkwan University who previously held a position of head of Samsung Display research lab, developed products at the OLED display development forefront while in the industry. He is a world renowned OLED expert who is, at present, concentrating on flexible OLED lighting development at university.

 

Professor Chung is developing flexible OLED lighting together with Korean material companies, lighting company, and Germany’s Fraunhofer Society. Chung is pursuing development of flexible OLED lighting that can produce white light via CCL (color change layer) made with fluorescence and QD materials on top of R2R evaporator produced blue emitting material on stainless steel substrate.

 

Chung considered the automotive flexible OLED lighting application to be the most important factor in flexible OLED lighting’s success. Most of the companies that are currently developing OLED lighting use multi stack structure as they are aiming for high efficiency device to compete against LED.

 

However, Chung pointed out the condition required for OLED lighting to enter the market is production cost rather than efficiency.

 

Chung emphasized that reducing the OLED lighting production cost is a priority and explained that many lighting companies that he has met wanted lower priced panels as OLED lighting is not used in everyday life even with high OLED lighting efficiency. Chung mentioned that in order to achieve this OLED structure needs to be simple more than anything. The OLED structure that Chung is developing is the simplest structure that uses only the blue layer. Therefore if the development is successful the production and investment cost can be massively reduced.

 

What is Professor Chung’s flexible OLED lighting growth solution?

 

The rear lamp and interior lights of automotive that current vehicle makers are pursuing use batteries, and does not require high efficacy products unlike other lightings. For these reasons, Chung explained that automotive lighting is the best market where OLED lighting with simple structure can be applied, and forecast the best product that can place the lighting following the curved design is flexible OLED lighting.

 

On the other hand, Chung revealed that there are some difficulty in technology before flexible OLED lighting can be commercialized and form a market worth billions of USD. Blue emitting material was named as the most necessary part, an analysis that material’s color purity and efficiency are not quite enough for the blue material to produce white light. The second is encapsulation technology and materials. Chung indicated that the important aspect in attaching the gas barrier to the device is high moisture proof adhesive material and passivation technology. He also stated that speedy equipment is required.

 

Professor Chung concluded that flexible OLED lighting is certain to represent Korean IT industry following display industry, affirming his passion to continue in his effort in making sure flexible OLED lighting grows into an axis of OLED industry. He did not forget to add an entreaty for the materials and equipment companies to press on in their development.

 

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Korea, China, and Japan’s OLED TV Alliance to Boost the Market

Korean companies had been leading the OLED TV industry. Before SID 2015 (31 May – 5 June), LG Display and Samsung Display had been the only companies to reveal 4K OLED panels, and until now, LG Electronics has been the only company to sell 4K OLED TV in large quantity. In terms of OLED TV market, despite OLED’s superior characteristics compared to LCD regarding contrast ratio, high viewing angle, fast response time, and thinness, the market share has been limited mostly due to its relative high price. However, this is expected to change soon.

 

LG Electronics has been pushing for OLED TV alliance and corporation with Chinese and Japanese companies. As a result, Chinese and Japanese companies resolved to jump into OLED TV market from the second half of 2015. Japan’s Panasonic and Sony are expected to release OLED TV for the first time later this year. China’s Skyworth, Changhong, Konka, and Hisense are expected begin sales from this fall.

 

Consequently, the number of set companies producing 4K OLED TVs will increase to 7 by the end of 2015. LG Display, the only company that can mass produce OLED panel with 4K resolution, is planning to increase production by 4 times this summer to supply these new to OLED TV set companies.

 

As mentioned above, until SID 2015, LG Display and Samsung Display had been the only companies which showed 4K OLED panels, and with LG Display being the sole company able to mass produce 4K OLED panels. However, in SID 2015, AUO showed their own 4K OLED panel during an author interview session, and CSOT and BOE presented paper on 4K resolution OLED panel. This signifies they possess technology needed for OLED panel production, and with proper investment they can begin mass production.

 

Soon LG Display will no longer be the lone supplier of OLED panels contributing toward increase in shipment of OLED panels and OLED TVs. This will naturally lead to lower cost for consumers and energize OLED TV market.

 

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Samsung Display Reveals World’s First 55inch Transparent OLED and Mirror OLED Display

Samsung Display showcased their technology with world’s first 55inch transparent OLED and mirror OLED display.

 

In Retail Asia Expo 2015 (9 – 11 June) held in Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, Samsung Display presented transparent and mirror type OLED in 55inch large size. Retail Asia Expo is Asia’s largest exhibition that showcases retail solutions from international exhibitors. It is the first time that transparent and mirror OLED panels have been presented in this size. This exhibition is significant in that Samsung Display is demonstrating their leadership in innovative display technology.

 

Samsung Display’s transparent OLED showed 45% transmittance, FHD resolution, and 100% NTSC, improved specifications compared to existing commercialized/revealed transparent LCD in terms of transmittance and color gamut. Samsung Display announced that this transparent OLED is able to show clear screen closer to normal glass.

 

In mirror display, higher the reflectance level, lower the sense of anomaly with cloudiness. Mirror OLED showed 75% of reflectance level, which is at least 50% higher reflectance than competitive mirror LCD. This product has minimum 100,000:1 contrast range with response time of under 1ms, compared to LCD’s 4,000:1 and 8ms respectively, and can be used in various applications.

 

Samsung Display also presented transparent and mirror OLED applications. For transparent OLED, Automobile Real Sense Solution was showcased. The display is placed next to cars to provide information, as well as show what the car would look like with or without certain optional extras.

 

Similarly, display called Magic Mirror showed application for mirror OLED. A display that can be used in jewelry stores, consumers can see reflections of themselves wearing the necklace or earrings without having to wear them. It is expected that this technology will be used in fashion and beauty industries.

 

Samsung revealed that using Intel’s RealSense solution, face, motion, and background recognition technology, highly realistic AR (augmented reality) can be actualized. “Samsung has a long legacy of leadership in technology innovation for digital signage, as well as for other applications, and we are now leading the next wave of digital signage advancement with our Mirror and Transparent OLED display solutions,” said Oseung Yang, vice president, Samsung Display Company. “We are very excited to help bring a new interactive dimension to the world of multi-channel shopping through the integration of our newest OLED displays with Intel’s RealSense technology,” he added.

 

Samsung Display’s 55inch Transparent OLED Display, Source: Samsung Display

Samsung Display’s 55inch Transparent OLED Display, Source: Samsung Display

What is the Next Key Technology in OLED Display?

There is a breath of fresh air of paradigm shift within small-mid size display. Traditional display is turned on by the user’s actions as needed. But, technology, which is able to check information at any time, has been developed and is being applied to the actual product.

LG Display is mass producing world’s first plastic circular OLED. LG Display’s plastic circular OLED panel displays screen in the same resolution without power supply of power management chip via PSM (Power Save Mode). Through this, the panel is turned on for 24 hours a day with only 10~20% of power compared to typical driving mode. PSM is evaluated as innovative circuit design and was applied to G Watch R last year.

A similar function is applied to several other smart phones. Galaxy Note Edge and Galaxy S6 Edge have screen function, ‘Night Watch’. Once the time is set, information such as time, date, weather is displayed on edge screen during that time, Through this, the user can check displayed information at anytime for a period.

Yotadevices, a Russian venture company, announced the second version of Yotaphone2 on 13 May. On the front side of Yotaphone 2 is 5.0 inch AMOLED display, and on the back side is a black and white display with electronic ink (E-ink), so the user can use both sides of the smartphone. The back side of Yotaphone2 is always on; e-ink technology can be used without power if the screen doesn’t change, so user can use back display, without consuming much power. Yotadevices said, “The function of backside display can be set freely. Also, you can save power used for turning on the front screen because you can always check the information set by you.”

‘Always ON’ in a function where the display is always turned on to deliver information. It is difficult to apply to OLED display. This is due to the burn-in phenomenon, which occurs when a particular pixel of the OLED panel is depleted and discolored, maintaining a fixed screen for a long time. To apply the ‘Always ON’ to the OLED, the OLED light-emitting material must be improved or the image-processing technology must be developed to minimize burn-in phenomenon. LG applied the ‘Always ON’ in G watch R by reducing the burn-in phenomenon, using the new image processing technology which moves the screen gradually at regular intervals.

‘Always ON’ is expected to be used primarily in the automotive displays and wearable displays where information should be displayed for a long time, and is forecast to be a key feature of the display in future.

Large Size OLED Panel Technology Match, ‘WRGB vs. Solution Process RGB’

Large size OLED panel is currently being mass produced by LG Display using WRGB method, and investment in this method for large size panel is being considered by OLED panel latecomers. Another method that can be used to produce OLED is RGB method. In 2013 Samsung Display mass produced using RGB method but halted the process due to problems in yield rate and technology. However, recently as key display companies are developing RGB method using solution process for large area OLED panel, latecomers are having to make a difficult choice in process selection.

 

OLED specialized panel company JOLED, established by JDI, Sony, Panasonic, and Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ), is aiming for mid-to-large size OLED panel production using solution process. Additionally, other companies including AUO, BOE, LG Display, and Samsung Display are developing large size OLED panel using solution process technology. In 2013, AUO presented 65 inch FHD panel that used solution process technology, and BOE revealed 30.5 inch FHD panel. Panasonic also presented solution process applied 4K panel.

 

According to 2015 White OLED Display Annual Report, published by UBI Research, WRGB method has an advantage in high mass production potential as open mask is used. However, due to the stack structure and color filter use, it has a disadvantage of increased panel production cost. On the other hand, the materials and process technology for solution process are not yet mature, but has the advantage of being able to produce large size OLED panel in Gen 8 size or larger without glass cutting using RGB method. It also can reduce the production cost as the material efficiency is high and does not require color filter.

 

At present the mass produced glass area by the latecomers forecast to manufacture large area AMOLED panel is expected to occupy approximately 30% of the total large area OLED market in 2020, and latecomers’ choice in technology investment will be a key point. Therefore, the large area panel technology leadership will be decided on whether WRGB and solution process methods can solve the issues that each has.

By DaRae Kim, reporter@olednet.co.kr

[Analyst Column] Green Light Lit for Korean Display Industry?

Dr. Choong Hoon Yi, Chief Analyst of UBI Research

Source: UBI Research

Source: UBI Research

 

After the weak showing of 5 quarters, Korea’s display panel industry is distinctively showing trend of growth. According to Samsung Electronics and LG Display’s 1Q 2015 performance announcements, the total sales of Korean display of 1Q is approximately US$ 12,900,000,000. Compared to the previous quarter (QoQ) the sales showed a decrease of 9%, but compared to the same quarter of the previous year (YoY) it is a 20% increase.

 

The worst quarter of the last 2 years, in terms of sales performance, was 4Q 2013. Generally, 4Q which includes Christmas season shows best performance but in 2013 the numbers actually fell compared to 3Q. However, 2014 showed the more general flow of continued sales increase every quarter.

 

According to this quarterly performance, it is analyzed that 2015 Korean display panel will fit the growth pattern; YoY of this quarter and previous quarter shows 14% and 20% of growth respectively.

 

Source: UBI Research

Source: UBI Research

 

The reason for Korean display industry’s recovery trend is LG Display’s continued positive performance. Comparing the market share in sales between Samsung Display and LG Display, LG Display is leading the market for the past 3 quarters occupying more than 50%.

 

The elevation in LG Display’s performance is seen to be from Apple iPhone 6’s improved performance. However, as the iPhone 6’s shipment increases, it is likely that the rival Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy sales will fall, leading toward the possible slowdown of Samsung Display’s performance.

 

Samsung Display and LG Display’s success will inevitably differ depending on the market share of world leading smart phone companies that they supply, Samsung Electronics and Apple. However, the Korean display industry, no matter which Korean company comes ahead, is expected to continue its growth.

What is the Next Killer OLED Display Application?

The interest in automotive display by OLED industry’s key leaders, Samsung Display and LG Display, is growing. During the 1st OLED KOREA Conference (April 2, 2015), Dr. Ki-Yong Lee, vice president of Samsung Display, predicted that “in 2018, 1.4 display units will be applied per car and form a market of 150 million units” and emphasized that “flexible OLED panel has an advantage of fast response time and being unbreakable and therefore suitable for automotive display”.

 

LG Display’s team leader, Won-Gyun Youn forecast that “from the rare keynote speeches from automobile manufacturers in this year’s CES, automotive display could be a new market for OLED”.

 

Speaking at the 1st OLED KOREA Conference, Dr. Choong Hoon Yi, the president of UBI Research, also commented that “OLED’s merit of infinite contrast range will provide high visibility even in monochrome and appropriate for drivers, and flexible OLED can be freely applied to vehicle’s interior” and estimated OLED will be actively used for automotive display in future.

 

OLED display, as flexible display, can be easily produced and cannot be broken. It also has advantages of infinite contrast range and fast response time and is a focus of automobile industry. Several cars have already been released with OLED display equipped instruments including dashboard and navigation. Recently, Italdesign Giugiaro’s concept car, Gea, equipped with LG Display’s plastic OLED was revealed in Geneva International Motor Show 2015.

 

Following this trend, the company that is most proactive in OLED application in automobile industry is LG Display. LG Display has already announced their target of 30% world market share acquisition in automotive display with the revenue of approx. US$ 1,800 million in 2018. In CES 2015 held in January, LG Display also presented 13.1 inch automotive display and 21.5 inch curved plastic OLED that included instrument panel and CID.

Various Display Equipped Concept Car, Geneva International Motor Show 2015

Various Display Equipped Concept Car, Geneva International Motor Show 2015

By Da Rae Kim, reporter@olednet.co.kr

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