Markets for OLED Light-Emitting Materials Continue to Grow Due to Popularity of OLED Displays for Smartphones

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Idemitsu Electronic Materials Korea, which produces OLED light-emitting material in Paju, is growing every year ever since it was established in October of 2011. Its sales increased from $616,000 (700 million KRW) in 2012 to $8.72 million (9.9 billion KRW) in 2016and it is estimated that amount of its sales will surpass $8.80 million (10.0 billion KRW) this year. This growth is due to fast growth of OLED display which is a front-end industry. Idemitsu Electronic Materials Korea, which is a South Korean corporate of Japanese petroleum chemical company called Idemitsu Kosan, is currently supplying OLED materials to Samsung Display and LG Display based on its original technologies.

It is likely that markets for OLED light-emitting materials, which are basic materials that form OLEDs, will expand quickly as OLED has emerged as the driving force of next-generation display that will succeed LCD and is used for Smartphones and TVs.

Market research company called Ubi Research estimated that markets for OLED light-emitting materials will be worth $9.57 billion and $15.86 billion this year and next year respectively.

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“It is estimated that markets for light-emitting materials will be worth $9.57 billion this year after considering that price of light-emitting material is dropping between 5 to 10% every year and supposing that recycle ratio of light-emitting materials is between 5 and 30%.” said Jang Hyeon-joon who is a senior researcher for Ubi Research. “It is estimated that they will be worth up to $33.59 billion in 2021.”

Main cause of expansion of these markets is due to OLED display becoming a trend in Smartphone markets.

If Samsung Electronics was the only Smartphone manufacturer that has been using OLED display on its Smartphones until now, it will be totally different this year as Apple, which is a major Smartphone manufacturer, has also decided to use OLED displays for its new iPhones that will be released this fall.

Estimated trend for worth of markets for light-emitting materials (Reference: Database from Ubi Research)

Estimated trend for worth of markets for light-emitting materials (Reference: Database from Ubi Research)

Apple is a Smartphone manufacturer that sells 200 million Smartphones every year. Because it is leading especially in trend of entire Smartphone industries such as design, technology, and service, Apple deciding to use OLED displays will have huge influence on related industries.

There is a growing number of Chinese Smartphone manufacturers that are also looking to use OLED displays for their Smartphones. “13 companies exhibited Smartphones with OLED displays at MWC that was held this year.” said Senior Researcher Jang. “Huawei, OPPO, VIVO, and Xiaomi that are increasing their market shares in Chinese market, which is the world’s biggest Smartphone market, are very active in using OLED displays.”

OLED display industry is led by South Korea as Samsung Display controls more than 90% of markets for small and medium OLEDs that are used for Smartphones.

However materials for OLEDs come from foreign companies such as UDC, Idemitsu Kosan, and Dow Chemical. UDC, which is the top light-emitting material manufacturer in the world, had its sales in this first quarter increased by 80% compared to first quarter of last year.

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OLED material manufacturers that are distinguishing themselves are also appearing in South Korea. Duksan Neolux is currently showing results in an area of red material while Samsung SDI is currently working on an area of green material. Besides these, Doosan Electronics and LG Chemicals are also building up their OLED material business and are expecting growth in the future that comes with expansion of markets for OLED displays.

Staff Reporter Yun, Keonil | benyun@etnews.com

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