SamsungとLG Displayが白色OLEDとLCDの長期供給契約に合意

Published February 5, 2024

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Samsung Visual Display (VD、SamsungのTV事業) とLG DisplayがLCDとOLEDの長期供給契約に合意したことをアジアの複数の情報筋が先週報じている。DSCCの情報筋も今回の契約が成立に向かっていることを認めており、中国勢との熾烈な競争に直面している韓国大手2社のこれまでの関係を拡大する契約となる。

今回の供給契約は両社にとって理にかなったものである。Samsung VDのOLED TV製品ラインナップは現在、55インチ、65インチ、77インチ、83インチという4つの画面サイズで構成されており、55インチ~77インチの3サイズはSamsung DisplayのQD-OLED、83インチはLGDが供給する白色OLEDを採用しているが、今回の契約によってラインナップの拡大が可能になる。LGDは稼働率の低いOLED生産ラインを活用できるビジネスを獲得することになる。

Samsung Signs Long-Term Deal for White OLED and LCD Panel Supply from LG Display

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Multiple sources in Asia last week reported that Samsung Visual Display (VD, the company’s TV business) has agreed to a long-term supply agreement with LG Display for the supply of LCD and OLED display panels. Our sources have confirmed that the agreement is happening; the deal expands an existing relationship between the two Korean giants as both face fierce competition from Chinese players.

The supply deal makes sense for both parties. Samsung VD will be able to broaden its OLED TV product line, which currently has four screen sizes: 55”, 65”, 77” and 83” with the first three utilizing QD-OLED panels from Samsung Display and the largest size a White OLED panel supplied by LGD. LGD will gain more business for its underutilized OLED fabs.

After many years when rumors of this supply arrangement proved false, in 2023 the two companies finally started to do business in OLED TV displays, but mainly in the 83” size.

Under the new deal, LGD will supply 42”, 48”, 55”, 65” and 77” White OLED panels in addition to the 83”, which will bring VD’s OLED product line to nearly the full range of TV screen sizes. The volume of OLED panel supply is expected to increase close to 10 times in 2024 compared to last year to 700K-800K panels, with the five-year total supply amounting to five million OLED panels.

Our sources suggest that most of the volume supplied will be standard white OLED panels, and not the most advanced products with LGD’s highest technology, MLA 2.0. In 2023, VD used the 83” White OLED panels at a lower tier and reserved its top tier of OLED TVs for QD-OLED technology.

The moves by Samsung VD to implement a broader OLED TV product line may help to increase the market for White OLED TV overall, which is exactly what LGD wants, but there is risk that OLED TV sales by Samsung will cannibalize the business that LGD has with Sony and other brands. As described in DSCC’s Quarterly Advanced TV Shipment and Forecast Report, Samsung has grown rapidly from its initial entry of OLED TV in Q1’22 to surpass Sony in Q3’23 as the #2 brand in both unit shipments and revenues from OLED TV.

OLED TV Revenues by Brand, Q4’20 to Q3’23

Source: DSCC's Quarterly Advanced TV Shipment and Forecast Report

In the most recent quarter, Samsung captured 21% of OLED TV shipments and 27% of OLED TV revenue, compared to Sony’s 14% share in both metrics. As a comparison, in Q3’21 before Samsung had any OLED TV offerings, Sony had 22% unit share and 25% revenue share.

While the headline part of the deal involves OLED panel supply, a critical piece of the deal is the supply of LCD panels. While Samsung VD sold less than one million OLED TVs in 2023, its sales of LCD TVs exceeded 30M, and since its internal partner SDC has exited the LCD TV panel business, it needs to purchase all of its LCD TV panels from outside sources.

With LCD TV capacity increasingly dominated by Chinese panel makers, this has left Samsung at a competitive disadvantage to major Chinese TV brands. VD is especially eager to reduce its dependence on the largest supplier of LCD TV panels, BOE, as Samsung Electronics has initiated lawsuits against BOE for infringing on patents for OLED technology.

Therefore, VD has moved to increase its supply from LGD. LGD’s LCD TV supply to VD in 2023 totaled an estimated around 3M units, and the business plan for 2024 calls for 5M to 6M LCD TV panels.

The increased supply to VD has led LGD to re-start its CA-1 LCD TV fab in Guangzhou. LGD had shut down CA-1 at the end of 2022 with LCD TV panel prices at their all-time lows but has restarted the line in January 2024 to increase the company’s LCD TV panel supply.

While LGD remains in the business of making LCD TV panels, it has consistently outlined its strategy to exit LCD and focus on OLED in both the large-screen and small-screen arenas. The Guangzhou fab is the last remaining production site for LGD for LCD TV panels, but with LGD facing considerable problems to fund OLED investments rumors have been flying that LGD would sell Guangzhou. Although Chinese TV maker Skyworth and BOE have been mentioned as possible buyers, our sources indicate that China Star (CSOT) now has the inside track to acquire Guangzhou.

CSOT maintains a strategic relationship with Samsung VD. CSOT acquired the former Samsung Display Gen 8.5 LCD fab in Suzhou in 2021, and as a result of that transaction Samsung owns a portion of the stock of TCL Technologies, CSOT’s parent company. So, an acquisition by CSOT of the LGD Guangzhou fab makes sense, but we have no specific indications that such a deal is imminent.

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Written by

Bob O'Brien