Demand for panels – both thin-film transistor liquid crystal display (TFT LCD) and active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) – using oxide backplane technology doubled in 2017, in terms of area, compared to a year ago, according to a latest report from business information provider IHS Markit (Nasdaq: INFO). The market is forecast to grow 30 percent in 2018 to 5.3 billion square meters from 2017.
Oxide backplane technology offers the benefit of higher resolution while consuming lower power, which are better suited to IT consumer products that require high mobility. With Apple’s increasing adoption of oxide TFT LCD panels for its tablet and notebook products in 2017, the demand surged 98 percent in 2017 year on year. Area demand for OLED TV panels using the oxide backplane technology also increased by 106 percent during the same period, according to the latest Display long term demand forecast tracker by IHS Markit.
“Demand for oxide panels will continue to grow in 2018 as demand particularly for OLED TV, with 55 inch or larger screens, increases,” said Linda Lin, principal analyst of display research at IHS Markit. “Increasing demand from IT products and rising penetration of OLED panels to major applications will help growing demand for LCD and OLED panels using oxide backplane technology in 2018, respectively.”
Panels using oxide backplane technology are mainly supplied by Sharp and LG Display. While Sharp is focusing on the oxide backplane for TFT LCD for IT applications, LG Display is more targeting the oxide backplane for OLED panels for TVs. Both are planning to expand their oxide capacity in 2018.
Sharp’s Gen 6 fab in Kameyama, Japan, is solely dedicated to producing low temperature polysilicon (LTPS) panels. To grab more orders for the Apple iPad, the company is going to change 40 percent of its LTPS capacity to oxide at the end of 2018.
Its Gen 8 fab in Kameyama is also planning to gradually increase the oxide capacity beginning the first quarter of 2018, from 50 percent of its all capacity in the last quarter of 2017 to 75 percent by the end of 2018. On the other hand, oxide panel price would be a key point to increase Oxide panel’s market share and decide that Sharp can enlarge Oxide capacity continuously or not in the future.
LG Display also plans to increase oxide panel capacity to prepare for the OLED TV panel business in future. Its Gen 8.5 OLED fab in Guangzhou, China, plans to start mass production of oxide backplane using OLED panels in the second half of 2019, with a capacity of 60,000 units per month. In Paju of South Korea, the company is also working to build Gen 10.5 fabs for both a-Si and oxide backplane panels.