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OLED boom may mean LED bust for panel manufacturers

The Razer Blade 15 was just one of a half-dozen or so laptops introduced at Computex with OLED display options.
The Razer Blade 15 was just one of a half-dozen or so laptops introduced at Computex with OLED display options.
As 2019 sees the more widespread adoption of OLED panels in notebooks and other portable technology, reports from Digitimes suggests that some LED-panel manufacturers in China may be in trouble.

OLED has been the display technology of choice for high-end smartphones for some time now, but recent developments suggest that the technology, popularized by Samsung, LG, and Apple's adoption for smartphones, may be replacing traditional LCD panels as the new standard — for non-gaming uses, at least.

CES 2019 saw the debut of a number of laptops with OLED display options, including the announcement of the Dell XPS 15, G7 15, Razer Blade 15, HP Spectre x360 15, and Lenovo Yoga C730, and OLED was even more prevalent at Computex this year than ever. It's starting to look like the increase in OLED supply and demand is hurting LED/LCD manufacturers, however.

Digitimes refers to reports from industry insiders stating that Chinese LED inventory surplus sat at a record-high 9.7 billion USD as of March of this year, citing weak demand and overproduction as leading causes.

A second report just yesterday highlighted a sharp reduction in Chinese government subsidies for LED panel manufacturers, also correlating with a shift in funding from manufacturing subsidies towards R&D and patent applications. Based on the increased demand for OLED panels and other cutting-edge display technologies, it seems likely that the road ahead for LED/LCD panel manufacturers will be anything but smooth if they do not adapt.

Subsidies are very common by the local provincial governments in China, as they help boost the economics figures for the area — a key metric by which the local government's performance is assessed (and officials rewarded or punished) by the Central government.

(Source: Digitimes industry sources)
(Source: Digitimes industry sources)
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Douglas Black, 2019-06- 5 (Update: 2019-06- 5)