According to Business Korea, Samsung Display believes that the world is unlikely to see the commercialisation of foldable smartphones for two years. Samsung does not need to sell new handsets with foldable displays as those with bezel-free displays are earning the company 20% of Samsung’s operating profits. Accordingly, Samsung is not expected to commercialise foldable smartphones until 2019.
Currently, Samsung Display has more than 95% of the global market for small OLEDs. The company’s dominance in the market is expected to continue for the next few years due to its unmatched technology and the economy of scale, according to HI Investment & Securities.
Samsung Display reportedly spent $900 million on an OLED assembly line last year, and is expected to make a further $9 billion investment this year. In addition, Samsung is expected to move its existing L7-1 assembly line to an OLED line that will produce 30,000 flexible OLED panels per month from the fourth quarter of 2017. Samsung is expected to increase monthly production from the current 30,000 to 40,000 panels to 120,000 to 130,000 by the end of the year.
Apple is said to have ordered 70 million flexible OLED panels from Samsung for the next iPhone, and when the phone is unveiled in the second half of this year, the demand for flexible OLEDs is expected to grow an average of 88% per year, from 2017 to 2020.