Rumors are widely said that Apple will switch to OLED screens on the iPhone 8 next year. Recently, it has been reported that the company's main suppliers are investing heavily in display technology. Although Apple is still insisting on using LCD panels, this situation is expected to change in the new flagship next year. It is said that Japan Display will respond to the ever-changing market through a major acquisition, which is targeted at Japanese display manufacturer Joled in the same industry.
Founded in 2015, Joled is a joint venture between Panasonic and Sony in the organic light-emitting diode business, aiming to achieve lower-cost display production technology (also one of the two remaining screen manufacturers in Japan).
Japan Display currently owns 15% of Joled's shares, and Japan's "Innovation Network Company" (INCJ) holds 75% of the shares, and Panasonic and Sony only hold less than 5%.
However, the Nikkei report pointed out that Japan Display's shareholding will reach more than 50% by the end of 2017, and the deal will cost hundreds of millions of dollars.
INCJ is also a major shareholder of Japan Display, which will inject $650 million into the latter's display business to promote the development of LCDs and OLEDs and make the whole more efficient.
Joled currently focuses on the medium to large OLED panel business, but its technology still helps Japan Display to manufacture panels that are lower in cost and more suitable for smart phones.
It should be pointed out that even without the promotion of Apple's next-generation iPhone, Japan Display has good reasons to increase investment in OLED technology.
The company integrated Hitachi, Sony and Toshiba's panel business in 2012, but has been struggling on the profit line because it cannot reduce LCD production costs.
Coupled with the lower-than-expected screen orders for the iPhone7 this year, the company may also face a series of problems such as annual net losses.
In contrast, Korean competitors (Samsung and LG) have already accumulated a good reputation in OLED technology, and their products have far better advantages than LCD in terms of energy efficiency and color. (Even Apple uses OLED screens on Apple Watch)