Foxconn To Push Sharp Into OLED-Panel Manufacturing

New majority owner of Sharp to target smartphones first, then go bigger
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Foxconn headquarters in Taiwan

Foxconn will use 52 percent of its $3.49 billion investment in Sharp to develop OLED display technology to complement Sharp’s LCD-display manufacturing, market research company Digitimes Research said.

The Taiwan-based contract manufacturer will invest $1.79 billion of its $3.49 billion investment in Sharp to develop OLED, said Digitimes.

Over the weekend, Foxconn purchased a 66 percent stake in financially ailing Sharp.

In developing OLED, Sharp will first produce small-size OLED panels for use in smartphones in 2018, followed by medium- to large-size applications for tablets, notebooks and TVs, Digitimes said. Foxconn then will begin offering OLED panels for tablets, notebooks and TVs in 2021, with shipments rising from 252,000 units in 2021 to 7.2 million units in 2025, Digitimes said.

Foxconn will likely bring Sharp’s IGZO back-panel semiconductor technology from LCD displays to OLED, Digitimes added. IGZO (indium gallium zinc oxide) semiconductor material is used as the back panel for TFT LCD displays to deliver faster speed, higher resolution, and lower power consumption.

Competitors in OLED display manufacturing include LG, which makes the panels for smartphones and its OLED TVs. Samsung and Japan Display also make OLED displays for smartphones.

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