BOE has had a meteoric rise in the last couple of years. The company already leads in the LCD market for TVs and phones, and according to a recent Display Supply Chain Consultant (DSCC) report, its OLED revenue share might increase to 12% by the end of 2020.
This will be a sharp increase considering that BOE had just 1.9% revenue share up until Q4 2019 (according to DSCC). In Q1 2020, BOE has increased its revenue share to 6%, almost surpassing LG for the second spot.
According to a report by CLSA, Samsung saw a decline in demand in the same period (Q1 2020) and its utilization rate dropped to 40%. In April, however, demand from Chinese smartphone makers recovered and Samsung utilization rate is expected to exceed 90% in Q3, 2020.
The rise of BOE
The OLED market is dominated by South-Korean conglomerates Samsung and LG, but BOE, a company founded in 1993 and backed by the Chinese government, has gained popularity because it managed to provide an alternative to Samsung’s Foldable OLED screens and also managed to drag down OLED panels to lower price points. Many of the Chinese phone makers including Xiaomi and OPPO now source OLED screens from BOE.
The surge we saw in affordable OLED phones last year (a trend that now seems to have subsided) can partly be attributed to relatively affordable BOE panels. Also, flexible screens on phones like Moto Raze, Huawei Mate X, and pretty much all foldable phones and even foldable laptops other than Samsung’s are sourced from BOE.
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Apple is expected to be the biggest OLED buyer this year and it’s reportedly considering BOE for at least one of its iPhone models. Some reports also suggest that Samsung is in talks with BOE for OLED panels for one of the Galaxy S21-series phones as well as for affordable A-series options.