On August 3, according to Japanese media reports, Sharp's smartphone brand Aquos will be equipped with its own OLED panels, which are expected to be available in the fourth quarter of 2018. Sharp also confirmed in its latest quarterly results report that it began mass production of OLED panels in June. Prior to this, Sharp also said that it will use its 堺 Display Products (SDP) equipment to mass produce OLED panels in the summer of 2018.
OLED has the advantages of self-illumination, high contrast, light weight, good color saturation, wide viewing angle and fast response speed. It is not comparable to traditional LCD panels, so it is favored by Apple. With the production of OLEDs by BOE and Sharp, Apple will accelerate the “go to Samsung”.
Sharp OLED panel mass production, Hon Haicheng's biggest winner
Currently in the smartphone market, Samsung has a 90.1% market share in OLED screens, while LG ranks second with a 7.7% share. From a digital point of view, Samsung has a monopoly position in the smart phone OLED screen market, so it can set higher prices and ensure profits in the case of production difficulties.
Apple’s iPhone X, released last year, is the company’s first smartphone to use an OLED screen, which starts at $999. It is worth noting that among all the parts of the iPhone X, the OLED screen is the most expensive one. In addition, because iPhone X is Apple's best-selling smartphone, Apple has no choice but to use OLED screens from Samsung in order to ensure supply.
In the high-end smartphone segment, Samsung is Apple's biggest competitor. Buying OLED screens from competitor Samsung in large quantities will definitely make Apple very uncomfortable. Therefore, Apple naturally wants to find other OLED screen suppliers in the market. But so far, LG can only contribute millions of capacity, far from enough to get Apple out of dependence on Samsung.
BOE/Sharp mass production OLED Apple will accelerate "go to Samsung"
According to the Asahi Shimbun, Sharp has invested tens of billions of yen in the OLED manufacturing line at the Mie Plant and the Handan Factory. The OLED panel will be installed on the high-end models of its own brand AQUOS, and it is expected to demonstrate the quality of the OLED panel. It will be sold to external companies such as Apple and mainland smartphone factories in the future.
With the mass production of OLEDs by Sharp, it is possible to compete with Samsung and other panel makers for orders for iPhone OLEDs in 2019. The industry believes that Hon Hai is currently the largest assembly plant for the OLED version of the iPhone, and the main supplier of the two OLED versions of the iPhone in 2018. Hon Hai has always been the biggest winner in assembling the OLED version of the iPhone.
After Sharp's mass production of OLED panels, if Apple can be supplied in 2019, it will help Hon Hai achieve the goal of one-stop iPhone assembly, which will help reduce Hon Hai's assembly costs and increase gross profit margin. Hon Hai will be the biggest beneficiary.