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AUO and Ritdisplay Top Taiwan's OLED Display Technology

By Korbin Lan
Published: Mar 30,2016

TAIPEI, Taiwan - Apple's use of OLED panels on the iPhone was bound to happen sooner or later, and the trend towards developing bendable and flexible displays is also inevitable. Taiwan is one of the competitors producing OLED technology; however, currently only AU Optronics Corporation (AUO) and Ritdisplay have this production capacity, and other companies have not made significant progress.

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The judgement can be made about whether or not a company is putting specific technology into practical development by observing the status of their patent applications. According to data from the Taiwan Patent Office, up until now, Taiwan's panel manufacturers have not been very active in the development of OLED technology.

The figure shows the amount of OLED technology applications submitted by each panel manufacturer in Taiwan. In the figure, Ritidisplay has 175 patents and is the main panel provider for the Apple Watch.

Although Ritidisplay was the first manufacturer in Taiwan to enter into OLED technology and have the most patents, they have not signed much ink for smart phone OLED panels, and the majority for their products are designed for wearable device applications.

AUO has 102 patents related to OLED technology, which is the second largest number in Taiwan. Currently, AUO is the only company with the production capacity to handle OLED cell phone panel production, and they are currently conducting research and development on flexible OLED panel technologies. There are even market rumors that Apple's research and development center in Taiwan is collaborating with AUO on OLED panel technology.

On the other hand, Innolux, which is the biggest panel manufacturing company in Taiwan, has had a relatively weak performance in terms of OLED technology, and this may be directly related to the strategies of its parent company, the Foxconn Technology Group. Foxconn is currently in negotiations for acquisition of Sharp. If this goes through, Foxconn will be able to directly obtain Sharp's OLED technology.

At third place, Taiwan's official research establishment, the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) is continually entering directly into OLED technology, and currently they are implementing a technology licensing partnership with the fourth place company, Chunghwa Picture Tubes, Ltd. As a result, Chunghwa Picture Tubes may have the opportunity to become the Taiwanese company with the third largest production capacity for providing OLED smart phone panels.

(TR/ Phil Sweeney)

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