Sharp plans to produce OLED displays at Foxcon factory in China


iPhone manufacturer Foxconn appears to be determined to satisfy all of Apple's production needs for the device. The world's largest contract electronics manufacturer spent around $3.5 billion in early 2016 to acquire Japanese TV and OLED display maker Sharp, and now their acquisition is going to set up an OLED screen production line worth $864 million in Foxconn Electronics' factory located in Zhengzhou City, China.

According to a new report by Japanese media Nikkei, production is set to begin “sometime in 2019”, which indicates that Apple is planning to make a permanent switch from IPS LCD to OLED displays for future iPhone handsets.

Many recent rumors have suggested that Apple plans to launch a smartphone with an OLED screen in 2017, as the company wants to do something special for the 10th anniversary since the original iPhone was released. However, OLED displays are currently more difficult to produce, so we're likely to see only one premium model of the iPhone sporting such a screen for this year.

source: Digitimes

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14 Comments

1. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

That's good move by Sharp. It remains to be seen if Sharp's OLED displays will live up to expectations.

5. shm224

Posts: 288; Member since: Mar 19, 2015

@trojan_horse: it probably won't. Sharp needs at least another 10 years to catch up with competitor, Samsung. By then, Foxconn would have given up and Sharp bought up by another company/consortium.

9. Klinton

Posts: 1409; Member since: Oct 24, 2016

LOL It's not Sharp. It's Foxconn !!! Foxconn bought Sharp display business. The name Sharp name is used here , just like the name ''Retina''

11. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

what are we expecting? They have always made good displays. B ut they ned to be equal now to Samsung or better. Because Samsung has been the stand in mobile displays to beat since the S5. The only phones to best the S5 were the next Note and then the next S. This has been the trend since then and stands now. Am sure the S8 and Note 8 wont be any less of such. So Sharp has a huge hill to climb and prove making LCD's isnt the same as OLED.

2. zunaidahmed

Posts: 1183; Member since: Dec 24, 2011

The title has a typo, Foxconn, double "N"

3. KingSam

Posts: 1449; Member since: Mar 13, 2016

I think this will name oled the standard. Cuz apple is doing it. And I've never owned an oled device. I want to give oled a shot

7. Klinton

Posts: 1409; Member since: Oct 24, 2016

OLED is already standard for the real high-end devices, ignorant. The real tech companies are already putting OLED even to mid-rangers. Apple will be simply the last one, because want older cheaper tech only. Because of the profit. If you didn't own OLED device yet, it means , or that you can't afford one, or that you are brainwashed by the apple's propaganda. Bad news for you though: Until Foxconn is ready to make them for Apple, Samsung(and even LG), will be already far ahead in the display tech. So you'll again be, years behind.

8. mikehunta727 unregistered

Samsung is suppose to supply most of the OLED panels in the next iPhone, since the high end iPhone model will be a curved OLED, Samsung currently only can deliver that, so at minimum the next iPhone gets S7 Edge quality panel in the next iPhone, possibly even the HDR version of it that went into the Note 7 too And Foxconn and Sharp aren't years behind Samsung/LG in OLED tech, they are almost on par with them actually besides their disadvantage currently of pumping them out at the rate of of the likes of Samsung/LG

10. Klinton

Posts: 1409; Member since: Oct 24, 2016

Foxconn bought Sharp display business. So it's Foxconn now. Sharp going for sale mean not because of good. Foxconn means even worse about R&D But you may hope they to catch up with Samsung(or LG) LOL

4. Sealblaighter

Posts: 428; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

I wonder why people saying Sharp was bought by Foxconn. I mean they do not say that not the whole company was sold. Anyway Sharp is not making only TV's and OLED displays. They are more than this.

6. killer7D

Posts: 551; Member since: Sep 18, 2014

@Sealblaighter.. Please correct your information. Sharp was Acquired by Foxconn.. It is 100% owned by Foxconn. In addition, yes Foxconn will focus more on OLED screens with Sharp. Who told you that Sharp home appliances are making great sales???

12. Freebird

Posts: 6; Member since: Jan 09, 2017

Umm…. we need some reality check here based on industrial facts. Mass production of oled panel is a huge money game. It should essentially be supported by sophisticated technologies and R&D power. Foxconn has been successful in assembling some money by assembling phone parts for apple. I'm not sure how much money they have been able to assemble, but let's guess they have enough money and certain degree of technology with the help of Sharp. OLED panel production requires hundreds of manufacturing and testing equipments. One example of major mass production equipment currently applied in the process, say vacuum evaporation equipment, costs approx. $100mil per single unit. (There is a cheaper type for $40mil per unit for R&D purpose.). Generally, to build 6G single line capable of producing 15,000 substrate per month, minimum $1.1bil has to be invested. Judging by Foxconn's investment capital $0.864bil, I guess it's a miniaturized 6G single production line capable of producing max 12,000 substrates per month. When 90% yield rate is assumed, it can be translated into 25.9 mil units of 5.5" smartphone screen production capacity per year (12,000*0.9*200*12). I don't know how many iPhones Apple sells per year, but it seems to me that it falls far short in 'satisfying all of Apple's production needs'. This scenario assumes that Foxconn has an excellent technology; that fully experienced in operating oled panel production line; that everything goes perfectly and smoothly with absolutely no errors, no delays, no conflicts between foxconn and sharp. Foxconn should also be able to achieve miracle 90 % yield rate right from the first batch of production. **Note: Generally when first batch of oled panel comes out, yield rate can hardly be more than 50%, meaning they have to throw away half of the panel defective. Very costly process for inexperienced producer indeed!!) It takes 3 years or longer to stabilize the yield rate to an economically meaningful level (say 70%). Another factor perhaps is the teamwork between Foxconn and Sharp. It is a widely known fact that there are cultural and management style difference between Taiwanese and Japanese, and Sharp team is not that happy or comfortable to work under parts Assembler Foxconn. Anyway I hope things will all work out for Foxconn and iPhone lovers. Good luck.

13. Freebird

Posts: 6; Member since: Jan 09, 2017

Samsung Display Co., Ltd. (daughter company of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.) is currently producing OLED Panel in A2 & A3 Production Line in Asan city in S Korea. A2 line is for 5.5 Generation panel (1300mm x 1500mm) and capable of producing 22,500 substrate sheets per month. A3 line is for 6 Generation panel (1500mm x 1850mm) and capable of producing 15,000 substrate sheets per month. One substrate sheet processed in this 6G line can be cut into about 200 pieces of 5.5" screen for use in smartphone. Industry experts these days generally agree that Sammy has now reached 90% of yield rate in processing OLED panel. Sammy had poured more than $10bil over the past 10 years for R&D and building production lines until year 2015. Sammy poured another $5bil in 2016 and will inject another $5bil again to A3 line in Q1&Q2 in 2017 (total $10bil) to increase 6G panel production capacity to 120,000 substrates per month with which we expect Sammy will be able to produce 13,000,000 pieces of 4.7" screen per month or 10,500,000 pieces of 5.5" screen per month (or 126,000,000 units of 5.5" smartphone screen per year). These screen will be used for their own and iPhone. Currently Sammy produces 95% of small and medium sized oled screen being used for all smartphones, watches, tablets, vehicle dash boards, etc. Another 5% is from LG Display and Japan Display. Major Chinese players, namely BOE, CSOT, are not recognized yet but have also been investing heavily in OLED industry in recently years and will start to play certain roll sometime around 2018. But currently virtually every single oled screen used by Blackberry, Google Pixel, Huawei, Oppo, Vivo, Xiaomi, One Plus, etc are all sourced from Samsung Display. LG is also pouring $10bil for building new OLED production plant in Paju in S.Korea and it will be operational in 2018. This facility is primarily for producing large panel for TVs, but some lines will also produce small and medium-sized panels for their own smartphone, watch, tablet or monitors. LG is a major LCD screen supplier to Apple, and expecting Apple to use LG's amoled or pmoled screen once it starts to produce oled screen for smart phone. We estimates LG has now succeeded to stabilize the yield rate at around 80%. A major reason why oled tv price has been cut down to one fourth compared to those 3yrs ago!! LG is selling panels for virtually all oled tv makers which includes Sony, Panasonic, Phillips, and Chinese TV maker Skyworth, Hisense, Changhong, Xiaomi (surprise xiaomi also makes tv).

14. Freebird

Posts: 6; Member since: Jan 09, 2017

Sony, after introducing oled tv proto type 5 years ago, was challenging to commercialize OLED panel production, but ultimately failed to gain much-needed minimum yield rate (We guess their initial yield rate was lower than 20%). Sony realized OLED production is simply too costly while it is almost impossible to achieve certain level of yield rate for mass production. Sony just gave up and shut down the oled business since then. These days all oled TVs introduced by Sony, Panasonic and Phillips are using LG Panels, but Sony and Panasonic purposely decline to answer the question where oled panel came from. When they have to buy the panel from 3rd source, it's no wonder why their TV price has to be much higher than LG. Sony says they use different in-house image processing technology to call for higher price, but industry experts all laugh knowing LG actually possessed unbeatable best image-processing technology. I know some people simply believe sony's nonsense and just buy crap tv for much higher price. If there is anyone who wants to discuss about oled business, including writer of this article, I recommend to study minimum required knowledge about oled and its industry. Perhaps this knowledge is vital especially for the writers on many tech sites if they will have to deal with oled business news again and again and over again in the coming years. English is not my first language. If there were grammatical error in my writing, pls understand.

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