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BOE betting on cutting-edge products

By FAN FEIFEI | China Daily | Updated: 2024-05-21 10:37

A view of the booth of BOE Technology Group Co Ltd at the Display Week 2024 exhibition in San Jose, the United States. [Photo/China Daily]

Chinese display panel maker BOE Technology Group Co Ltd is doubling down on new-generation semiconductor display and the internet of things technologies, as the company aims to leverage digital technologies and its expertise in intelligent manufacturing to empower the digital transformation of enterprises.

Shipments of BOE's organic light-emitting diode panels reached 120 million units last year, with the figure expected to rise to 160 million units in 2024, said Gao Wenbao, president of the company, adding that major smartphone manufacturers are exhibiting growing demand for high-end flexible display panels, which have been used in their premium handset models.

Gao said BOE will ramp up efforts to bolster the application of display screens in diversified scenarios by integrating more functions and forms, improving technological innovation capacities and strengthening cooperation with partners of industrial chains.

Xu Xiaoguang, vice-president and chief technology officer of BOE, said the company has invested about 7 percent of its annual revenue in tech innovation, among which 1.5 percent of its revenue has been spent on the research of fundamental and forward-looking technologies.

As of the end of 2023, BOE had filed more than 90,000 independent patent applications, and the number of patent applications related to flexible OLED technology exceeded 30,000.

Market research firm Omdia said BOE secured the top position nationwide in terms of shipments of flexible OLED panels in 2023, and ranked second worldwide behind Samsung. Compared with traditional liquid crystal displays, OLED is a relatively new technology and part of the latest innovation in displays, and it boasts great improvements in terms of image contrast, brightness and color spectrum.

Currently, the company owns three flexible active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) production lines in Chengdu and Mianyang in Sichuan, as well as in Chongqing. It has announced plans to set up a new AMOLED production line in Chengdu. The products will be mainly high-end touch screens such as those used on mid-sized laptops and tablets, it said.

BOE has showcased more than 50 new products and innovative cutting-edge technologies covering glasses-free 3D displays, artificial intelligence of things, virtual reality and augmented reality during this year's Display Week. The event was organized by the Society for Information Display in San Jose, the United States, and ran from May 12 to Friday.

The company unveiled its 110-inch 16K glasses-free 3D display — the first of its kind in the world — and an electric flexible cockpit product comprising a 17-inch central display with a curvature gradient on the driver's side as well as a 15.05-inch electric foldable screen in the front passenger area at the exhibition.

According to Sigmaintell Consulting, a Beijing-based market research firm, global shipments of OLED panels will likely reach 710 million units this year, an increase of 14 percent year-on-year, with the vast bulk of these products to be used in smartphones — reaching 680 million units in 2024.

Li Yaqin, general manager of Sigmaintell, said demand for flexible OLED panels used in foldable smartphones will continue to rise on the back of 5G commercial applications. Panel makers should further improve their yield rate capacities and reduce production costs. Flexible OLED panels will gain popularity in midrange smartphones, which will be priced at more than 2,500 yuan ($346.1) by 2025.

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