BOE is expected to become an Apple OLED supplier, then Samsung?

China's photoelectric display equipment maker BOE will be expected to become Apple's first Chinese display supplier. According to Bloomberg quoted people familiar with the matter, Apple is considering using OLED displays from BOE on the next generation of iPhones starting in 2018. At present, Apple is still testing BOE's display equipment. First Financial contacted the relevant person in charge of Apple and BOE, and declined to comment on the news.

Investing 100 billion yuan to build a factory

Bloomberg quoted people familiar with the matter as saying that Apple has been testing AM-on-the-ear AMOLED (active-matrix OLED) screens for several months, but has yet to announce whether it will add BOE to the supplier list. BOE is currently one of the largest manufacturers of display equipment in China and the world's largest LCD screen manufacturer by market value. The company has invested 100 billion yuan to establish two AMOLED production plants in Chengdu and Mianyang, Sichuan, in preparation for future needs.

The source also said that because the negotiations are still in the early stage, it is unlikely that the iPhone display will be released this year using the BOE OLED screen, but the company's products may be used in models launched in 2018 or later.

BOE shares closed up 1.25% today, outperforming the broader market.

At present, the only OLED screen supplier Apple has revealed to the outside world is Samsung. If BOE becomes a supplier to Apple, it will become the first prospective future supplier outside of Samsung. And Apple has always adopted a confidential attitude towards its suppliers.

OLED screens are becoming a major trend in smartphones. Apple is tapping into new partners to address the potential shortage of OLED supply in the future. OLED displays are more vivid and more power efficient. Apple's competitors Samsung and Huawei have launched OLED smartphones. Samsung's upcoming Galaxy S8 model will be exposed to a full-screen, borderless design for a higher screen ratio, with a OLED curved glass screen on the front.

The display is the most expensive part of all the components of a smartphone. The production process of OLED screens is more complicated, and it is especially difficult to achieve mass production. At present, Apple is still waiting for the supplier's mass production technology to improve. Currently, the world's top four smartphone display suppliers include Samsung, Sharp, LG and Japan Display. But even the combined capacity of all four major manufacturers can't meet the demand of all iPhones this year. Therefore, Apple will only be able to use an OLED screen for a high-end version of the iPhone's flagship model this year, and extend the time to launch OLED screens for other versions to 2018.

Yan Zhanmeng, research director of research institute CounterpointResearch, told the First Financial Reporter: "Apple is forced to choose multiple suppliers to meet the demand of OLED, which is a huge opportunity for BOE. But this is not enough to shake Samsung's dominant position. Because only Samsung has a stable production capacity."

Yan Zhanmeng also said: " BOE is the top two monitor manufacturers in China. The advantage is that it already has 2k resolution display products, and the quality of high ppi (pixel) products is also stable and large. It is now seeking Drive the production of larger 2k and OLED screens."

IHS analyst Zhang Bing told the First Financial Reporter: "The 2k screen of BOE is still only a prototype product, and it is difficult to mass production. What Apple needs is a high-ppi display that can reach the retina screen level, such as 5-inch. A large screen will require a resolution of 2k. A smaller screen may not need to reach 2k. According to Zhang Bing, the minimum standard ppi of the retina is 326.

In the current two production lines of BOE, the Chengdu production line invested 46.5 billion yuan to produce flexible AMOLED screens. Another Mianyang production line is expected to be officially put into production two years later. At present, BOE has only one OLED production base in Inner Mongolia.

If BOE's two production lines are fully activated, the annual output can reach 1.6 million square meters of flexible AMOLED glass display. This is slightly higher than the total global OLED production expected by IHS in 2016.

New technology drives mobile phone sales

Apple will adopt new software and hardware technologies every time it releases its flagship model. Research firm STIfel predicts that in addition to OLED screens, Apple's 10th anniversary flagship model, which will be released in September this year, will be integrated into the iPhone's 3D sensing technology.

In 2017, Apple and Samsung signed an exclusive OLED supply agreement. According to the "Hanse Herald" on February 14 quoted insiders as saying that Samsung has signed a large order with Apple for $ 235 million worth of OLED screens. If you add 100 million OLED orders in April last year, Apple will purchase more than 160 million OLED display components from Samsung. This also means that Samsung has already undertaken a display supply of about 80% of the iPhone production in the future.

At the same time, the news also said that in order to meet Apple's demand, Samsung will also set up a new OLED production plant to meet the growing orders, and Samsung currently has three OLED production plants in South Korea.

But this does not mean that Samsung can meet all of Apple's needs. From the perspective of Apple, it is not wise to "put all the eggs in one basket", especially Samsung must first meet the needs of its new OLED mobile phone. The analysis predicts that Apple's iPhone sales will reach 90 million in the last quarter of this year.

OLED technology will become the focus of major mobile phones to compete for the market this year. Bloomberg has quoted people familiar with the matter as saying that Samsung will launch two new OLED screen smartphones this year, one of which is a smart phone with a screen that folds like a cosmetic case, and the other a "two-in-one" smartphone. A 5-inch screen smartphone can be plugged into an 8-inch panel to become a tablet. The person familiar with the matter also revealed that the two flexible smartphones will be released at the MWC of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona at the end of this month. Samsung did not comment on this.

Peng Luping, director of Asia Pacific Research at Canalys, told the First Financial Reporter: "If Samsung can promote new models of OLED technology to users before Apple, it will help it seize market opportunities and recapture some users from Apple. Sales growth has been declining in the past two years."

In addition to the large mobile phone manufacturer, Moxi Technology, a small and unknown company in Chongqing, China, announced during the Shanghai MWC last year that it will release a flexible wrist-shaped smartphone and showcase the black and white display that will be mass-produced. version. However, when the First Financial reporter interviewed Yu Chongsheng, the head of the Moxi Technology Application Center last week, he said: "The current mass production is still limited to small-scale, and I hope to achieve mass production in the second half of this year."

Another Korean company, Suwon, also released a concept video for a collapsible smartphone last year, but it has not yet been mass-produced. However, the technology of these small companies can also be seen as a challenge to Samsung and Apple, which means that the competition of flexible screen technology has risen to a new level.

In the context of the global smartphone market becoming increasingly saturated, the introduction of new technologies by various vendors will help to gain new growth drivers. According to IDC data, in 2016, the global smartphone market shipped a total of 1.47 billion units. Although it reached a record high, it only grew by 2.3% compared with the 1.44 billion units in 2015, and the growth rate is slowing down.

For iPhone 8G

Dongguan Rongmao technology Co.,ltd ,