There has been increasing demand for LTPS (low-temperature poly-Si) TFT-LCD panels from China-based smartphone vendors as supply of AMOLED panels by Samsung Display has been insufficient, according to industry sources.
While Samsung Electronics has adopted AMOLED panels for flagship smartphones, Apple is expected to follow suit for a new iPhone model to be launched in the second half of 2017, the sources said. A few first-tier China-based smartphone vendors, including Huawei Technologies, Oppo and Vivo, have adopted or will adopt AMOLED panels as well, the sources noted.
Samsung Display produces an estimated 300 million AMOLED smartphone panels a year, the sources said. After priority supply for Samsung Electronics and Apple, Samsung Display can supply only about 50 million AMOLED panels for China-based smartphone vendors a year, the sources indicated. Consequently, global supply of AMOLED panels will be short of demand in 2017, the sources noted.
As a result, China-based smartphone vendors cannot but rely on LTPS TFT-LCD panels. Japan Display and LG Display have combined annual production capacity of 250-300 million LTPS TFT-LCD panels; Sharp, Innolux, AU Optronics (AUO) and Tianma Micro-electronics have about 100 million units in total. Global total annual capacity reaches 350-400 million units, the sources said.
In 2017, AMOLED panels are estimated to account for 27% of smartphone-use panels, LTPS for nearly 35% and a-Si TFT-LCD units for the remaining, the sources indicated.
Japan Display and AUO will also begin to produce AMOLED panels for notebooks in the second or third quarter of 2017, the sources noted.