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China becomes largest buyer of smartphone OLED panels: UBI Research

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Smartphone manufacturers are increasingly adopting OLED displays instead of LCD panels for their devices. It is growing at such a rapid pace that it does not only surpass other technologies but will also have a lasting lead.

Now, a new report coming from UBI Research reveals that China has emerged as the largest buyer of OLED display panels for smartphones in the second quarter of this year, with 52.5 percent of the total volume.

OLED Shipments Q2 2020 (Countries)

OLED Shipments Q2 2020 (Companies)

In comparison, South Korea’s volume for the second quarter of this year stands at 35 percent. The United States, on the other hand, managed to get 8.3 percent of the volume. Companies in China purchased around 30.4 million units of OLED panels in total.

This is quite an unexpected development given that it’s usually Samsung Electronics which procures the most OLED panels. It has always been leading the list and this is the first time that Chinese companies bought more panels in a quarter.

Looking at the Chinese companies, Huawei was the leading brand to source OLED panels for smartphones, accounting for 53.4 percent. It was followed by OPPO, Vivo, and Xiaomi which accounted for 18.6 percent, 14.8 percent, and 8.3 percent.

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EDITOR’S PICK: Huawei to reportedly produce just 50 million smartphones in 2021, a 74% decline to its expected shipments this year

However, it doesn’t seem to be a one-time thing for Chinese companies. The report adds that going forward, the China-based OLED panel makers will continue to increase their production volume. But it will be interesting to see how this works out given that Huawei has now significantly lowered its smartphone production for next year to just 50 million.

When compared to LCD panels, OLED is preferred due to its thin and light form factor as well as better color performance. Another major factor is that OLED enables flexible display form factor, allowing manufacturers to go ahead with innovative designs.

Along with leading smartphone brands like Samsung, Huawei, and Apple, other companies like OPPO, Vivo, Xiaomi, and more are increasingly adopting OLED panels for their smartphones. Thus the display manufacturing industry is gearing up to expand AMOLED capacity for both rigid and flexible OLED.

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