Optoelectronic suppliers in China are forming strategic partnerships to launch new displays based on the latest technologies, including laser, OLED, capacitive touchscreen and 3D.
China is recognized mainly for its manufacturing prowess, not for its R&D capability. But a few display companies are aiming to change this.
By working with major research institutes and universities in the country, suppliers such as Beijing Phoebus Vision Optoelectronics Technology Co. Ltd and Beijing Visionox Technology Co. Ltd have been able to develop core technologies for producing new displays alongside major industry players. A few others also have managed to accomplish the same feat sans research partnerships, including Truly Semiconductors Ltd, China Display Technology Co. Ltd and Changhong.
Beijing Phoebus Vision claims to be the first China manufacturer to devote R&D to laser displays, including source modules, TVs, projectors and 3D cinema solutions. It is now the second-largest holder of laser display patents globally, having roughly 110 protected designs from core technologies to finished devices.
Beijing Visionox Technology Co. Ltd, meanwhile, is said to be the first in China to have a line for manufacturing PMOLED, with annual yield topping out at 12 million 1in panels. In Q4 2009, the company became the fourth-largest global PMOLED supplier, next to TDK, RiTdisplay and Pioneer. Now, it wants to extend this success to the AMOLED area, where Samsung currently holds more than 90 percent share of global shipments.
Appliances and consumer electronics manufacturer Changhong is venturing into the OLED line as well. Together with the Chengdu Hi-Tech Investment Group, the company set up Sichuan CCO Display Technology Co. Ltd, a joint venture that will concentrate on OLED production. A PMOLED trial line started operating in April and has a projected annual yield of 120 million 1in panels. An AMOLED line has been under construction since late 2009.
As of April 2010, Changhong has applied for more than 170 OLED patents, including 34 foreign ones, covering OLED materials, device structure, driving circuit and manufacturing process. It has also released 2.6 to 7.6in AMOLED demonstration panels.
The popularity of Apple's portable electronics, including the iPad, has furthered development in capacitive touchscreen technology as well. This comes as increasing demand is tightening supply of 7in and above displays. Recognizing the growth potential in the segment, China Display Technology Co. Ltd developed its own version of 3 to 7in capacitive touchscreen displays for mobile phones, GPS devices and other portable electronics in 2009. Midsize panels for laptops measuring 10.1 to 15.6in were released in March 2010.
Further, the popularity of 3D displays is bolstering growth in the 3D glasses line. Truly Semiconductors Ltd spent four years developing lenses for 3D glasses and has since been granted four patents. In July, the company set up its 3D glasses factory in Guangdong province with two production lines. Projected annual output is 120 million 3D lenses.
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