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Display Market Showdown: South Korea vs. China

BOE, a Chinese company, has successfully reduced the technological disparity with South Korean display companies. Last year, BOE was chosen as one of the OLED panel suppliers for Apple’s iPhone 14 series, marking its first involvement in this role. An analysis of Samsung Electronics’ panel inventory reveals that four Chinese panel manufacturers—CSOT, HKC, BOE, and CHOT—accounted for nearly 60% of all panels utilized in Samsung TVs manufactured in 2023. Despite the introduction of QD-OLED TVs, the majority of Samsung’s TVs, including “Neo QLED,” still rely on traditional LCD panels.

Supported significantly by the Chinese government, BOE has announced its intention to invest 7% of its total revenue in research and development. The primary reason for this situation is that Samsung Display has not produced as many panels as in previous years, necessitating Samsung Electronics to seek alternative sources for its TV panels. After a 30-year run, Samsung Display ceased the production of LCD panels in June 2022. Consequently, Samsung Electronics, the largest TV manufacturer globally, must now obtain LCD panels from other display manufacturers.

Display Market Dominance: South Korea and China Engage in Fierce Battle

The intensifying competition between Chinese and South Korean display companies has led SDC and BOE to initiate patent infringement lawsuits against each other. However, Samsung Display has stated its plans to increase output to 38 million LCD TV panels this year, up from the 34.2 million produced last year, although still lower than the 47.8 million panels manufactured in 2021. According to the Korean newspaper the Elec, 26% of Samsung TVs in 2023 feature a VA LCD panel from China’s TCL CSoT. TCL CSoT’s panels are also utilized in TVs from TCL, Sony, and other brands.

Display Market Showdown: South Korea vs. China

The South Korean government has recently designated the display industry as a strategic national sector and is augmenting support for domestic display companies. With more LCD panels in development, there is a possibility that a larger proportion of Samsung TVs produced in 2024 will incorporate Samsung displays. However, for the current year, it is highly likely that a Chinese-made display will be present in your 2023 Samsung TV. HKC is the second-largest supplier at 21%, while BOE ranks fourth at 11%, indicating that almost 60% of Samsung TVs sold in 2023—the first year without Samsung-produced LCD panels—will be equipped with LCD panels from China.

Clash for Supremacy in Display Market: South Korea vs. China

SDC has recently announced plans to establish 8.6th-generation production facilities, making it the first company in the industry to do so. Instead of focusing on manufacturing more LCD TVs, Samsung Display, a separate entity from Samsung Electronics under the same conglomerate corporation, has been investing efforts into QD-OLED production. Samsung Electronics plans to procure 38 million LCD TV panels this year, up from 34.2 million last years, but down from the annual production of 47 million in 2020 and 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

At a recent event organized by the Society for Information Display (SID), BOE from China unveiled a rollable display measuring 272 mm in diameter, effectively narrowing the technological gap with South Korean display companies, particularly Samsung Display, which had previously introduced a 245-mm rollable panel. These QD-OLED panels are utilized in the Samsung S95C OLED and Sony A95K OLED TV models, both highly regarded TVs in 2023. Therefore, it is understandable that Samsung Display wishes to move on to the next significant advancement in display technology.

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