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JDI and LG are Battling it out for OLED Apple Watch display orders While TSMC is set to Invest US$5 Billion in Advanced Process Manufacturing

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Display panel manufacturers that represent South Korea and Japan are forecasting an intense competition regarding supplies of OLED panels for Apple Watch. LG Display and JDI, which are the two OLED panel suppliers of Apple for its Apple Watches, have begun overhauling their respective production lines for small and medium-sized OLED panel in order to increase productivity.


The Electric Times report further noted that "JDI stated in its annual report to shareholders that "In this fiscal year, we have improved OLED precision and productivity through our own technologies. We are going to improve our 6th generation deposition OLED line at our Mobara Plant starting from March of 2021 so that we can supply our OLED panels to our customers without any setback."


JDI’s Mobara Plant in Chiba Prefecture manufactures OLED panels for Apple Watch. There is a high chance that the company will drastically increase its production capacity in order to respond to orders from Apple.


JDI was selected as an Apple Watch OLED panel supplier last year. Although LG Display was the sole supplier initially, JDI becoming an additional supplier formed a competitive landscape.


Apple selected JDI because it wanted to lower the purchase price of OLED panel from competition between JDI and partners to secure a new profit model. JDI is looking to increase the production capacity of the Mobara fab in order to bring in orders designated for LG Display.


LG Display is also working on strengthening its production capacity of OLED panels for smartwatches. LG Display has been manufacturing flexible OLEDs for smartwatches and smartphones from the E2 fab since 2013. The E5 fab is scheduled to manufacture OLED panels for new Apple Watches. Because LG Display uses the same 6th generation ledger as JDI, productivity and competitive edge will have a significant influence on their order volumes in the future.


South Korea’s display industry expects that the competition between LG Display and JDI will only become more intense as time goes on as the global smartwatch market continues to expand due to the development of healthcare technologies and increased popularity for wearable devices. In particular, it is heard that Apple Watches take up about 50% of the global smartwatch market.


Meanwhile, Omdia estimates that the shipment of OLED panels for smartwatches this year is going to be 98.71 million units. It estimates that the number will surpass 100 million units for the first time and record 190 million units next year.


On another news from Apple's supply chain, Digitimes is reporting today that "The board of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has approved capital appropriations of about US$5.27 billion for the installation and expansion of advanced technology capacity, installation of specialty technology and advanced packaging capacity, as well as fab construction, installation of fab facility systems and capitalized leased assets, and fourth-quarter 2020 R&D capital investments and sustaining capital expenditures."


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