The development and commercialization activities of OLED have been booming over the past few years. OLED technology is today widely viewed to have the potential to capture a significant share of the existing FPD market currently addressed by liquid crystal display technology and other FPD technologies. Existing products where OLEDs can provide significant value addition include cellular phones, automotive displays, digital cameras, MP3 players, electronic games, personal communicators, appliances and commercial equipment displays. In addition, OLED technology has the potential to create exciting, new product possibilities such as unbreakable, wearable, form-fitting electronic displays, flexible, thin laptop screens, wide area, full-motion video camcorders and ultra-lightweight, wall-size television monitor. In 2006, the shipment of OLED modules mainly manufactured by Samsung SDI, LGE, RiTdisplay, Pioneer, Univision and TDK were over 72.1 million pieces and the total sale revenue reached US$475 Millions.
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The initial market entry point for OLED displays is expected to be in portable imaging products such as cellular phones, MP3 and car audio systems, applications that are currently served by traditional LCD and Vacuum Fluorescent Displays (VFD). These products shared a total OLED market of 98% in Q4'2006. Passive matrix driven OLED (PMOLED) actually fits the rising demand of color display in cell phones because it has a lower cost structure (PMOLED requires 4 photo steps while C-STN LCD requires 6 photo steps), and a thin profile compared to LCD module with backlight. Although the main display and sub-display panels nowadays mainly use STN-LCD or TFT-LCD, there is a fast increasing trend for replacing the LCD into OLED in the coming years.
In the future, double profits will be earned for selling a flip-type phone with two OLED displays. According to Display Search, it is projected that the production of cell phones is going to be 500 million pieces/years in the coming years, and approximately 25 million pieces of sub-display and 68 million pieces of main display will adopt OLED technology in 2008. This will be equivalent to revenue of HK$831.7M and HK$10.2 billions, respectively. In Q4'2006, the volume production of OLEDs for main display and sub-display was 980K and 12.3 million pieces, respectively, which exhibited a Y/Y growth of 140% and 78%, respectively.