With technological breakthroughs, BOE is rapidly eroding the domination of its South Korean counterparts in the global panel market, although it has yet to overcome product deficiencies, among other hurdles
BOE, the major panel manufacturer in China, is prepared to supply high-end OLED panels for Appl's iPhone 15 series in 2023, according to South Korean industry sources.
Since Korean manufacturers have long dominated the supply chain of Apple's high-end OLED screens, the news sparked intense discussions within the industry.
Chinese business media cls.cn reported on Wednesday that Chinese panel manufacturers are coming up fast, citing industry insiders.
However, there are still technological and quality gaps between domestic and Korean companies' OLED products, the report said.
According to people familiar with the matter, BOE has already supplied around 10% of the panels used on the iPhone 13 series.
Along with the blockbuster Apple 13 released in 2021, flexible OLED has become the main growth driver for BOE.
As per the company's performance forecast, the net profit after the non-recurring gains and losses is expected to jump by approximately 800% in 2021. BOE attributed this fast expansion to "growing production, closer relationships with customers, and its advanced technologies."
In December 2021 alone, BOE's OLED shipment had surpassed 10 million units for the first time in the company's history.
In the field of panels, Apple's mobile phone has always been a focal point in the industry chain. Based on a report released by Counterpoint, a market intelligence firm, China's smartphone shipments in Q4 2021 fell by 11% year on year, but Apple reached its highest ever market share of 21%, ranking first.
Another domestic panel manufacturer TCL Technology (000100.SZ) is also looking to enter Apple's supply chain. In the past few years, Samsung, LG and other South Korean factories controlled the supply of Apple's flexible OLED panels.
At present, OLED has become the trend of mobile phone screens, and panel manufacturers such as TCL and BOE continue to expand in small-sized flexible OLED.
''OLED has become the mainstream display solution, and LCD has gradually degraded to mid- to low-end products,'' said Zhao Jun, COO of TCL Huaxing, a subsidiary of TCL.
According to a survey by Sigmaintell, a consultancy firm, global OLED smartphone panel shipments in 2021 were expected to reach 640 million units.
Regionally, the entire OLED industry clusters are concentrated in China and South Korea, with South Korea's Samsung Display ranking first with a market share of about 70%.
OLED panel shipments of mainland Chinese manufacturers in 2021 were about 140 million pieces, a year-on-year increase of 60.1%, and the growth rate is twice the global average. BOE, with 60 million units, ranks second in the world and first in China.