BOE Ends up Not Being Able to Supply Flexible OLED Panel to Samsung Electronics

Jul 28, 2020

BOE’s attempt to supply flexible OLED panel to Samsung Electronics for its next flagship smartphone “Galaxy S21 (tentative name)” fell through. It is understood that Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy S21 that will be released in the first half next year will use Samsung Display’s flexible OLED panel.
BOE’s attempt to supply its flexible OLED panel was an issue that had drawn many eyes within the both South Korea’s display industry and foreign display industries as it was a case that signifies emergence of BOE that is the biggest display maker in China and threatens South Korea’s display industry. Although its attempt did not materialize this time, it is expected that it will continue to make attempts to supply its flexible OLED panel to Samsung Electronics.
According to the industry on Monday, it is heard that BOE’s attempt to supply its flexible OLED panel to Samsung Electronics fell through.
Multiple representatives from the industry who are familiar with this issue told the Electronic Times that BOE was eliminated from “U Project (the development project name for S21)”.
It is heard that BOE had put in significant efforts to supply its flexible OLED panel for the Galaxy S21 as the Galaxy S series are smartphones that represent Samsung Electronics’ smartphone business. About 30 million Galaxy S series smartphones are sold annually. As they represent the company’s smartphone business, it integrates many latest technologies to develop Galaxy S series.
Supplying parts and components for the Galaxy S series is a huge opportunity for a growth and has a huge meaning for a company because it indicates that Samsung Electronics, which is the world’s biggest smartphone manufacturer, approves its technologies which can lead to them being recognized globally.

BOE’s OLED panel (Reference: BOE’s homepage) <BOE’s OLED panel (Reference: BOE’s homepage)>

The exact reason why BOE was eliminated is not known. However, there can be several factors such as quality and unit cost.
There is also a chance that BOE could not compete with Samsung Display. Samsung Display is the only company that has been supplying flexible OLED panel for the Galaxy S series. As a result, Samsung Display could not accept a possibility that Samsung Electronics, which is its parent company and its major customer, going with BOE’s panel. This is the reason why some say that Samsung Display had taken active actions in order to prevent BOE from being a flexible OLED panel supplier for Samsung Electronics.
Flexible OLED is one of main businesses of Samsung Display as it owns more than 90% share within the global fiexible OLED panel market and is establishing a monopolistic system. Due to its excellent production capability, Apple that is looking to diversify its suppliers is also depending on Samsung Display.
However, it is expected that BOE will continue to make efforts in order to supply its flexible OLED panel to Samsung Electronics.
“We heard that BOE had made significant development costs in order to obtain an order from Samsung Electronics.” said a representative for the industry. “Although it needs to receive costs back from Samsung Electronics, BOE looks at them as part of its investment for obtaining an order from Samsung Electronics in the future.” This indicates that BOE will continue to be part of Samsung Electronics’ development projects and look for opportunities to obtain an order from Samsung Electronics.
BOE is the biggest display manufacturer in China. It is the biggest LCD maker in the world and it currently focuses on OLED as the next growth engine.
It is also making investments in order to supply its flexible OLED panel for Apple’s iPhones. Apple currently receives flexible OLED panels from Samsung Display and LG Display.
Staff Reporter Yun, Geonil | benyun@etnews.com & Staff Reporter Yun, Heeseok | pioneer@etnews.com

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