Manufacturers are ahead of the display technology boom

A visitor tries out an OLED TV during an exhibition in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province. XU JIANMEI/FOR CHINA DAILY

Chinese display panel and home appliance makers are upping the ante in next-generation semiconductor display technologies that have huge application potential in large-size commercial screens, vehicle-mounted devices, and virtual and augmented reality, they said industry experts.

TV maker Konka Group Co Ltd announced that its Chongqing Semiconductor Optoelectronic Industrial Park has officially started operations, with several micro LED diodes and mini LED assembly lines starting production.

Li Hongtao, chairman of Chongqing Konka Optoelectronics Technology Research Institute, said the company will promote scientific and technological innovation, strengthen cooperation with enterprises in the upstream and downstream segments of industrial chains, and build a new generation display industry ecosystem. covering R&D, production and applications.

The company, based in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, has invested heavily in the semiconductor display sector – one of the country’s strategic emerging industries – and has increased R&D investment in micro LED and mini LED displays.

The operation of the new semiconductor optoelectronic industrial park is conducive to ensuring the security and stability of the industrial and supply chain, achieving self-reliance in science and technology, and gaining a competitive advantage in the global next-generation semiconductor display industry, experts said.

In 2019, Konka announced plans to invest 1.5 billion yuan ($207.6 million) to establish a micro-LED research institute with Chongqing Liangshan Industrial Investment Co Ltd for micro-LED R&D, production and sales.

The company and the Chongqing Bishan District Investment Platform jointly established the Chongqing Kangxin Semiconductor Industry Equity Investment Fund in 2020 to invest in new semiconductor materials, equipment, chips, integrated circuit design, packaging and testing.

Compared with liquid crystal display and organic LED technology, micro LED display technology has very fast response time, high brightness, wide viewing angles and longer life. Mini LEDs are considered LEDs in the millimeter range, while micro LEDs are in the micrometer range.

According to a report by LEDinside, a research institute of technology research firm TrendForce, the global market value of micro LEDs and mini LEDs is expected to reach $1.38 billion by the end of this year.

Sun Jian, senior analyst at the TV division of market research company Sigmaintell Consulting, said: “Major panel and home appliance manufacturers have entered the mini LED space to improve competitiveness in the high-end TV segment and improve their profitability against the backdrop of of the increasing pressure of oversupply in the panel sector.”

Sun said global mini LED TV shipments are expected to reach 3.7 million units this year, up 135 percent year-on-year, and that figure will grow to 9 million units in 2025.

Micro-LEDs have wide application in large-sized commercial displays, but still require more time to achieve mass production, Sun added.

Roger Chu, research director at LEDinside, said micro LEDs enjoy great potential and could find many applications, including virtual reality devices, augmented reality projections, optical sensors and fingerprint recognition.

Since this year, the transaction volume of new-generation displays, including mini LED, laser, OLED and 8K TVs, has seen steady growth, said Jie Meijuan, general manager of the consumer electronics division at All View Cloud, a Beijing-based consultancy specializing in the household appliances sector.

TV manufacturers are paying more attention to the added value of products and using innovative display technologies to launch premium products, Jie said, adding that technological innovation has become an important force supporting higher-end and smarter development of the television industry.

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