Apple's Chinese Competitors Huawei, Oppo and BBK forming an OLED Alliance to Ensure Sufficient OLED Display Supply
We reported earlier today that Apple may delay their curved glass iPhone due to a lack of OLED suppliers that could fill the demand for such a design. Apple's secondary OLED display suppliers are coming on board in volume by 2018. Foxconn/Sharp, LG and Japan Display should be ready in 2018 and riskier designs could be supported at that time. But Apple's demand for OLED displays in the 2018 to 2020 time frame will be so great that it could hurt Apple's Chinese competitors from being able to keep up with them. Huawei, Oppo and BBK Communications, who owns Vivo and other smartphone brands, are now in the top five global smartphone vendors under Apple. To ensure that they could keep up with Apple, they're now forming an alliance to support OLED displays made in China.
According to a Chinese report, there is a chance that a Chinese alliance consisting of Huawei, VIVO and OPPO's parent company BBK Communication Equipment and Royole, a startup company specializing in flexible display technology, will make new investments into flexible OLEDs in 2017.
The rumor is that BBK has set up a separate company called MGV that will manufacturer display panels and that they'll introduce yet another smartphone brand next year so that it will cause an increase in demand for small and medium panels. With enough demand, the Chinese central government and local governments will actively support investments in display panels to keep their home grown brands in the race.
Industry sources predict that MGV will make investments so that it secures capabilities to produce 60,000 OLED panels per month. Although detailed schedule and location are not known, there is a high chance that MGV will secure such production capabilities by making investments from 2017 to 2019.
To keep up with OLED display demand, they predict that Royole will try to secure capabilities to produce 45,000 5.5th generation flexible and rigid OLED panels per month by making investments in 2017 and 2018. Royole is planning to construct its production lines in Shenzhen.
In a roundabout way that will be great for Apple if their Korean and Japanese suppliers aren't distracted with orders from Chinese vendors. This should allow Apple to meet their exploding demand for OLED displays through to 2020. At that time all iPhone and iPad models should have made the switch to OLED.