Huawei to Initiate Mass Production and Delivery of OLED Driver Chips by End of 2021

According to the Financial Times, Huawei’s self-developed OLED driver chip has completed trial production, and it is expected to begin mass production and delivery by the end of this year. The new chips are also expected to be integrated within Huawei’s wider range of products later.

Huawei HiSilicon’s first flexible OLED driver chip adopts 40nm process technology, and is planned to undergo mass production in the first half of next year, with a monthly production capacity of 200-300 wafers. Samples have been sent to BOE, Huawei and HONOR for testing.

Over recent years, with the push of smart phone manufacturers and the continuous reduction of costs, the OLED panel has become the standard for mainstream mid-range and high-end smartphones.

According to Sigmaintell, a market research institution, global shipments of OLED panels for smartphones surpassed LTPS LCD panels in the fourth quarter of last year and the first quarter of this year. It is estimated that the global penetration rate of OLED mobile phone panels will exceed 45% in 2023.

While the penetration rate of these mobile phone panels continues to rise, the shipments and market share of Chinese OLED mobile phone panel manufacturers represented by BOE, Visionox and TCL CSOT also continue to increase, while BOE’s OLED panels have successfully entered the supply chain for Apple’s iPhone.

For OLED screens, the driver chip is also a very crucial device. Especially with larger mobile phone screens carrying higher resolutions, the requirements for the driver chip are getting higher and higher, with more compression and processing technologies, so the OLED driver chip access threshold will also be raised.

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According to Omida’s data, in 2020, Samsung Electronics accounted for 50.4% of the global OLED driver chip market, while three South Korean manufacturers – Magnachip, Silicinworks and Anapass – accounted for 33.2%, 2.7% and 2.4%, respectively. In contrast, Chinese mainland mobile phone manufacturers occupy at least half of the market share of OLED mobile phones.

Since the latter half of 2020, a shortage of global display driver chips has seriously restricted the development of some related industries in China. In this context, the successful launch of Huawei HiSilicon’s OLED driver chip is significant.

However, it should be noted that leading OLED driver chip manufacturers have begun to shift from 40nm to the more advanced 28nm technology, presenting a disadvantage for Huawei’s 40nm OLED driver chip in the subsequent market competition.