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Company News >> Foreseeing 2021: A panoramic map of China's OLED industry in 2021

OLED is called organic light-emitting diode, also known as organic electro-laser display and organic light-emitting semiconductor.OLED display technology is a new generation of flat-panel display technology after LCD. Compared with LCD display, OLED display technology has the advantages of power saving, light and thin, large viewing angle, Flexibility and other advantages have gradually become the mainstream solution for small and medium-sized display panels. Flexible OLED is the basis for realizing curved display and even future flexible display. At present, the development of the OLED industry has attracted national attention and has received strong support from the country. The industry is in a period of rapid development.


The upstream and downstream of the OLED industry chain involve a wide range of areas, and there are many participants in the industry chain


The OLED industry chain involves more upstream supply materials, equipment, and downstream application fields, so there are more participants in the industry chain. Specifically:


The upstream of the OLED industry chain includes three major sectors: raw material production, equipment manufacturing, and assembly parts production. Each sector includes more subdivided products, such as glass substrates, organic materials, polarizers, and encapsulants. As the overall technical threshold of the upstream links of the OLED industry is relatively high, the industrial supply right is basically in the hands of overseas manufacturers, and there are not many domestic upstream companies that can achieve mass production.


The downstream of the OLED industry chain is the application fields, including smart phones, smart TVs, VR/AR, wearable electronic devices (smart watches, etc.), computers, vehicle displays, lighting and other fields. Among them, smart phones, TVs, VR and other fields have the largest application range.


The midstream of the OLED industry chain is OLED production and sales.Currently, leading companies include Samsung, LG, BOE, Changhong, Huaxing Optoelectronics, etc., among which Samsung is currently the world's largest small and medium OLED panel manufacturer, and LG Display is the first to focus on large-size OLED In view of the development trend of small-screen electronic products, LGD is gradually increasing the size of small and medium-sized OLEDs.


The display market is expected to become the era of OLED, and the industry market space is huge


Compared with the previous two generations of display technologies (CRT, LCD), OLED display panels truly have the characteristics of lightness, thinness, fast response, transparent display, and flexible foldability of "future technology" materials. Its special structure does not require heavy vacuum devices and additional screen backlights and liquid crystal phases. It only needs to vapor-deposit the luminescent material on the thin ITO glass plate, and it can emit light and color when it is electrified. At the same time, OLED has a wider color gamut, larger viewing angle, wider operating temperature range and lower power consumption. In addition, OLED downstream terminal market is widely used, and it has developed rapidly in recent years, involving smart phones, TVs, VR, vehicles, wearable devices, lighting and other fields. Therefore, both its outstanding display advantages and application prospects indicate that the display market in the next ten years is expected to become an era dominated by OLEDs.


In terms of OLED commercial applications, as more OLED panel production lines are completed and put into production, Apple iPhoneX mobile phones began to use OLED display screens in 2017. Later, Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi, Motorola, etc. also launched OLED screen foldable screens in 2019. Mobile phones, these all mark the success of the commercialization of OLED technology at this stage.


In terms of specific market prospects, taking smart watches in wearable devices as an example, OLED panels are highly competitive in the field of wearable devices due to their wide viewing angle, light weight, and flexible foldability. In the first half of 2020, global smartwatch shipments were nearly 42 million units, and it is expected to exceed 80 million units throughout the year. For the smartwatch field alone, the demand for OLED in 2020 will reach 1 billion US dollars. In the future, as OLED accelerates its penetration into smart phones, car displays, notebooks, wearable devices and other fields, the industry has a huge market space.


The country vigorously develops the development of the OLED industry, the domestic OLED panel is developing rapidly, and the production capacity is about to be increased


my country is the world's largest producer, consumer and exporter of consumer electronics products. The vast terminal application market is the biggest driving force for the development of my country's OLED industry. Data shows that China's mobile phone, computer and TV production accounted for more than 90%, 90%, and 70% of global total output in 2019, all ranking first in the world. Demand for downstream terminal applications is strong, but OLED panel supply is mainly concentrated in South Korea. OLED panels are in short supply.


Therefore, in order to accelerate the development of my country's OLED industry, in recent years, the state has formulated a series of support policies to promote the development of OLED technology research and development and supporting industries, which has accelerated the process of large-scale investment in the OLED industry and localized supply of supporting industries, and provided for the development of the industry. Favorable policy support and good opportunities were created. In 2012, the state launched the "Twelfth Five-Year" National Strategic Emerging Industry Development Plan, which clearly stated that "accelerating the development and industrialization of new generation display technologies such as OLED". In the following years, more policies were introduced to encourage and support the innovative development of OLED materials, panels, and processes. In 2015, the “Technical Route in Key Fields of Made in China 2025” put forward “to take new display materials such as flexible displays as the focus of development. "; In 2016, the "Thirteenth Five-Year" National Key Research and Development Plan proposed to independently develop new organic semiconductor display materials.


With the strong support of national policies and the promotion of downstream demand, domestic companies have accelerated the production of OLED panels. OLED panel manufacturers led by BOE have continued to release their production capacity strongly in recent years. According to statistics from Omdia, domestic panel manufacturers shipped 105 million OLED panels in 2019, more than three times more than 32 million in 2018. In terms of production lines, many companies in mainland China have invested a total of about 440 billion yuan to build multiple 4-6 generation AMOLED production lines. According to OLED Industry statistics, there are 12 6-generation production lines that have been built and are under construction in Mainland China, and the total production capacity will exceed 500,000 pieces per month when all are fully produced.


The key technology of OLED terminal is monopolized by foreign countries, and the general trend of localization


OLED is an organic light-emitting device manufactured based on a variety of organic materials that directly converts electrical energy into light energy. It is the core of upstream supporting facilities. The basic structure of OLED materials includes a cathode, an anode, an auxiliary layer and a light-emitting layer.Under the action of an external electric field, electrons are injected from the cathode and holes are injected from the anode. The injected electrons and holes are respectively from the electron auxiliary layer and the hole auxiliary layer. Migrate to the light-emitting layer; after electrons and holes are injected into the light-emitting layer, electron-hole pairs are formed, that is, excitons. The excitons radiate and de-excite and emit photons to make the OLED emit light. It can be seen that OLED materials directly determine the luminous characteristics of the panel, including luminous efficiency, lifetime, etc., so it is the core key material for OLED upstream manufacturing.


OLED organic light-emitting materials are one of the highest technical barriers in the industry chain. AMOLED panels need to vaporize more than ten layers of organic materials. The vapor deposition thickness and uniformity are the core indicators. The thickness of each layer ranges from a few nanometers to hundreds of nanometers. Although there are few materials, its cost accounts for about 10% of the total cost of panel production, second only to equipment manufacturing.


From structural analysis, OLED organic light-emitting materials include hole injection layer (HIL), hole transport layer (HTL), organic light emitting layer (EML), electron transport layer (ETL), electron injection layer (EIL). The light-emitting layer (EML) functions to convert electrons into light sources, and other electron/hole organic layers help electrons/holes flow smoothly. From the perspective of the production process, the generation of OLED materials needs to go through four links: chemical raw materials, intermediates, crude monomers, and terminal materials. Among them, the sublimation process from crude monomer to terminal materials has high technical barriers, which is the promotion of localization. The main problem is.


Due to technical limitations, Chinese enterprises are mainly concentrated in the field of intermediates and crude monomers, and occupy a relatively low proportion in the field of OLED organic light-emitting materials (terminal materials) with higher profits. Data show that in 2019, my country's OLED terminal material market accounted for 83% of organic light-emitting materials. It is mainly monopolized by companies in the United States, Japan, South Korea, Germany and other countries. Among them, hole layer injection/transport materials, electron layer injection/transport materials The supply in the domestic market accounts for about 12%, and the supply of light-emitting layer materials accounts for less than 5%. Key materials are heavily dependent on imports.


The core protection patents are gradually unblocked, and the localization of doped materials ushered in dawn


The EM layer material of OLED is divided into red, green and blue combination color rendering and imaging. It consists of host material (red light host, green light host, blue light host) and guest material (also known as doping material, including red light doping, green light Doping, blue doping) composition. According to Ossila data, the doped material part is the key to realize the luminescence function, mainly composed of metal complexes, and its technology and patent barriers are the highest, so the unit price is as high as 5000-20000 yuan/g; the main material mainly realizes the energy to the doped material. The transfer is composed of small organic molecules, has no core patent restrictions and relatively low technical barriers, with a unit price of 2000-5000 yuan/g. The supply of EML's subject and object materials is mainly monopolized by foreign manufacturers such as the United States, Germany, South Korea, Japan, etc., and the domestic relies on imports. Especially in the field of doped materials, due to the strong patent protection system of overseas giants, my country's OLED finished material manufacturers have always been difficult to bypass in the early stage, so they can only work hard on the main material and shut down.


In recent years, heavy patents of related dopant materials have expired one after another, coupled with the continuous improvement of the independent research and development capabilities of domestic OLED light-emitting materials, the number of patents has increased year by year. According to Aolaide's prospectus, Aolaide has obtained 52 patents in high-performance luminescent functional materials, including two related to the synthesis and application of new yttrium metal phosphorescent materials; Ruilian New Materials is used in red doped materials. It also has a patent on synthesis; Qiangli New Materials has 64 authorized patents of Taiwan Yulei Optoelectronics, and its business involves doping materials. In addition, Dingcai Technology, Wanrun Co., Ltd., Dingcai Technology, and Xiahe Technology also have strong R&D capabilities. It can be seen that the overall R&D and technical level of domestic intermediate/crude monomer materials manufacturers are improving. We believe that the localization of OLED finished materials will continue to accelerate in the next 3-5 years, and the head companies are expected to combine their own front-end material technology accumulation and research and development. Progress, cooperate with the independent research and development of the main material system, develop a new doping material system, and achieve a breakthrough from 0 to 1.

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