AMOLED Mobile Phone Panel Output Triple Jump, Quickly Closing The Cost Gap With LCD Panels

- Jan 27, 2020-

As more and more smart phones use AMOLED panels, not only has the AMOLED panel shipments increased significantly, but the output value has also increased. At the same time, due to the impact of economies of scale, the cost gap between AMOLED and LCD mobile phone panels has also further narrowed. The close combat between the two sides has become increasingly fierce, and the market has clearly fallen to AMOLED.

AMOLED panels have swept the mobile phone industry, and their thin and light advantages are even better. The existing market for LCDs has been greatly eaten. It is estimated that AMOLED panels ’penetration in the smart phone market will approach 50% in 3 years, almost half of the country.

After gaining ground in the field of high-end mobile phone layout, AMOLED panels have begun to enter the lower-resolution market. With the large increase in shipments, the cost gap between AMOLED and LCD panels has rapidly narrowed. According to an IHS Markit survey, the manufacturing cost of a 5.5-inch HD AMOLED panel is $ 12.1, while the cost of a 5.5-inch HD LTPS LCD panel is $ 12.2, and the two have already reversed.

In fact, because the AMOLED structure is simpler than the LCD panel, the material cost of AMOLED should be lower than that of LCD panel in principle, and the higher cost of AMOLED panel mainly falls on other expenses, such as depreciation and labor costs.

Due to the significant increase in AMOLED panel output, the cost gap with LCD panels has been significantly reduced under the influence of economies of scale. However, compared to a-Si LCD panel technology, AMOLED panels still have higher manufacturing costs. Currently 5.5-inch HD The manufacturing cost of a-Si LCD panel is only about $ 10.4, which is still lower than that of AMOLED panel.

However, in the higher-resolution market, LCD manufacturing costs still dominate. It is estimated that there is a cost gap of about 30% between 5.5-inch QHD AMOLED panels and 5.5-inch QHD LTPS LCD panels. a-Si technology cannot reach the resolution of QHD.

It is worth mentioning that with the introduction of flexible substrates, the cost of AMOLED has further increased. At present, the manufacturing cost of 5.5-inch QHD flexible display panels is about $ 24, which is higher than rigid display panels of the same size and resolution. Out of the range of about 25%.

Generally speaking, flexible AMOLED panels are mainly produced in Gen 6 plants, and most commercially available rigid AMOLED panels are mainly produced in Gen 5.5 plants. Therefore, this 25% cost gap is mainly due to the flexibility of Gen 6 plants. It is caused by the difference from the generation of rigid substrate generation lines in the 5.5th generation factory.

If rigid AMOLED panels are also produced by the 6th generation line, its cost is estimated to be reduced by about 20%. Therefore, if both rigid and flexible AMOLED panels are produced by 6th generation factories, the difference in manufacturing costs will be much greater than 25%.

In fact, in addition to sweeping the market in smart phone applications, AMOLED panels are gradually gaining ground in TVs. TVs are currently the second largest market for AMOLED panels, and the second largest market leader in global display LG Display The AMOLED TV panel production line E4-2 is about to be put into production, and it is expected to be launched in the second half of 2017. Based on the increase in production capacity, it is estimated that AMOLED TV panel shipments will increase from 890,000 in 2016 to about 1.5 million in 2017.

Undoubtedly, smart phones and TV applications are the two main driving forces for the growth of AMOLED panels. In addition, the growth momentum of AMOLED panels also includes the demand for head-mounted displays and mobile computers, which are currently showing a steady increase.

Led by the two major applications of smart phones and TVs, IHS Markit estimates that global AMOLED panel shipments will increase by 63% annually in 2017, and the scale of output value is expected to reach US $ 25.2 billion. With a compound annual growth rate of 22%, the output value will exceed 40 billion US dollars.