73% of all high-resolution LTPS and oxide-TFT LCD smartphone displays will be purchased by Apple and Chinese brands this year. NPD DisplaySearch says that the demand for these displays is boosting LTPS LCD capacity expansion and oxide-TFT LCD production in China.
467 million LTPS and 42 million oxide-TFT LCD panels will be shipped this year. These figures represent 26% of all mobile phone panel shipments in 2014: a rise of 8 percentage points from 2013. Meanwhile, a-Si LCD panels will continue to lose share.
Apple’s iPhones only use LTPS technology; the company is the highest consumer of this form of TFT LCD display. 96 million iPhone 5 panels and 98 million iPhone 6 panels are expected to be purchased this year, accounting for 37% of combined LTPS and oxide-TFT smartphone LCD displays. Additionally, the manufacture of 1920 x 1080 smartphones by Chinese brands has raised demand for LTPS LCD. Xiaomi, Huawei, Oppo, Lenovo, BBK and other brands will represent 36% of combined LTPS and oxide-TFT smartphone display shipments in 2014.
Looking to the supply chain, oxide-TFT LCD smartphone displays are being shipped to Chinese brands by Sharp. Japan Display, through its subsidiary Taiwan Display, is now fully operational in Taiwan and is targeting the Chinese market. AUO and Innolux are also expanding their LTPS LCD shipments. Tianma, a Chinese maker, has achieved a qualified LTPS LCD yield rate level in its G5.5 line in Xiamen.
“[T]he capacities of JDI, Sharp, LG Display and other leading suppliers only serve Apple”, said DisplaySearch’s Hiroshi Hayase. Therefore, LTPS investments are being made in China; these include AUO’s G6 plant in Kunshan; BOE’s G6 lines in Ordos and Chengdu; CSOT’s G6 in Wuhan; Tianma’s G5.5; and Foxconn’s G6 in Chengdu. By the end of 2016, DisplaySearch expects there to be at least six LTPS G6 fabs in China, and one G5.5.