March 29, 2021
In the past few years, the entire LED industry has experienced a cold wave brought about by overcapacity; however, benefiting from the rebound in downstream demand last year, the industry's prosperity also bottomed out.
According to Jiwei.com, the new display technology Mini LED has become more and more popular in the past two years, and it has become the "darling" in the display field. Samsung has recently launched a TV equipped with Mini LED technology. In addition, the market expects that Apple will officially launch a new 12.9-inch iPad Pro at a press conference in April, and the screen will use a Mini LED panel.
Tianfeng International Guo Mingchi also said that Apple has invested a lot of resources in the development and production of Mini LED, and has determined that Mini LED has a key strategic position in the medium and long-term of Apple's product line of productivity tools. In addition, MacBook will also be equipped with Mini LED, and it is the most important application. iPad will focus on high-end models. In the future, with the reduction of Mini LED production costs, Apple's medium and large size and positioned as a mid-to-high-end device for productivity will eventually Both will use Mini LED displays.
With the lead of electronics giants, domestic industry chain manufacturers will naturally not miss the historical opportunity of Mini LED commercialization. At present, many companies have already attracted many companies to exit the market. Earlier, Chuancai Securities pointed out that the application of Mini LED technology is now economical, and it is expected that 2021 will be a year for the growth of Mini LED technology.
Domestic manufacturers are making efforts and entering the game one after another
Whether Mini LED can be mass-produced is closely related to Apple, which has been promoting the commercialization of Mini LED.
Jiwei.com learned that related purchases of Mini LED backlight products launched by Apple and Samsung this year have been launched ahead of schedule in the fourth quarter of 2020, which has undoubtedly boosted related demand. Moreover, industry giants intensively launched Mini LED products, making it a high-growth direction in the LED industry, and will provide new performance drivers for core companies in the LED industry.
In addition, HOREXS IC substrate has also entered the field of miniLED substrate production in 2018. With the mature production technology of IC Substrate, HOREXS has mastered the high-precision control MiniLED mass production technology.
The dilemma of the LED industry in the past two years is expected to be improved with the surge in demand for Mini LEDs and will bring new vitality and vitality to the industry.
As the development prospects of Mini LED technology are very promising, domestic manufacturers have stepped out of the market and increased R&D investment. It is understood that TCL is one of the earliest companies to deploy Mini LEDs in China and is also the first company to achieve mass production of Mini LED TVs. Before Samsung released Mini LED TVs, TCL had already released 4K Mini LED TVs to seize the opportunity.
From the perspective of the Mini LED industry chain, it includes materials, chips, modules, equipment, and downstream application terminals. Among them, the upstream chip manufacturers mainly include A-share listed companies such as Sanan Optoelectronics, HC Semitek, Ming Microelectronics, Qianzhao Optoelectronics, and Jucan Optoelectronics. Among them, Sanan Optoelectronics, the world's largest LED chip supplier, invested 12 billion yuan in the production of Mini/Micro led chips as early as 2019. It is estimated that the production capacity after the start of production this year can reach 2.1/2.6 million pieces, and Sanan Optoelectronics has become Samsung's primary supplier of Mini/Micro led chips, and has achieved mass supply of Mini LED chips.
The main manufacturers of midstream modules include Zhaochi, Hongli Zhihui, Ruifeng Optoelectronics, NationStar Optoelectronics, Leyard, Longli Technology and so on. Relevant person in charge of Ruifeng Optoelectronics told Jiwei that we already have the capacity for mass production and have also made preparations for large-scale shipments. It is expected that the scale of shipments will gradually expand this year, but the specific situation requires further progress. Look at the market response.
In addition, the Mini LED assembly and repair equipment of Yitian shares has been sold, filling the gap in domestic related equipment. In addition, Yitian shares also revealed that BOE and TCL are one of the company's main customers; and Jufei Optoelectronics' main products are backlight LED devices and lighting LED devices. AU Optronics, a world-renowned company, is a partner in the company's supply chain. The company's Mini LED products are in the stage of mass supply.
It is worth mentioning that Leybold Hi-Tech, the leader in laptop touch screens, has also recently finished researching and developing glass-based Mini LED backlight technology. However, it is currently in the stage of producing preliminary samples and needs to be optimized and improved, and it does not have the conditions for commercialization.
Mini LED technology is mature, waiting for the flowers to bloom
Mini LED refers to an LED chip with a size on the order of 100 microns. The size is between the small-pitch LED and the Micro LED, which is the result of the continued shrinking of the small-pitch LED. Not only has the advantages of seamless splicing, wide color gamut, low power consumption and long life, but also better protection and higher resolution, but the requirements for technology are naturally higher.
Moreover, as the core of the fifth largest display technology, Mini LED is very close to OLED in terms of display effect, and has the advantages of low price, low power consumption, and low life. obvious. As we all know, OLED is widely used in high-end mobile phones with small and medium-sized screens, and high-end large-screen TVs will also choose to be equipped with OLED screens. However, a fatal flaw is that the screen will burn, and the life span is relatively short, and it can only be used in 4K. Use on TV.
With the introduction and wide application of 8K TVs, OLEDs are no longer suitable, so 8K TVs that take the high-end route will adopt Mini LED technology. At present, the entire Mini LED industry chain already has conditions such as technology, production capacity, and yield. It is only a matter of time before it can increase the volume and become a new cycle of LED display development.
At present, Mini LED technology has matured, but due to the high cost, it has not been widely used. This is mainly because the number of Mini LED backlight chips is huge, and the dimming area is relatively fine. In addition, the chip size of Mini LEDs is generally below 200 microns, so the line width accuracy of the production line and the miniaturization of the chip are difficult to make.
Even though the cost technology of Mini LED is mature, many manufacturers already have mass production capacity, but the cost problem has not been effectively solved, and the large-scale popularization still needs to wait.
However, Samsung has already launched a TV equipped with Mini LED. In the future, with the release of Apple's new iPad, the Mini LED market will be pushed to a new stage of large-scale application of terminal products.
The above-mentioned person in charge of Ruifeng Optoelectronics further disclosed to Jiwei.com: "This kind of electronic products depends on the giants, such as Samsung and Apple, which have begun to advance. This market can become hot, and other related industry chain companies will further follow. If it is promoted by a small factory, the effect may not be so good."
When asked about the specific reasons, the person in charge said that, firstly, they have a strong influence, and secondly, their user base is relatively large. Once their terminal products are equipped with Mini LED technology, it will not only lead the market trend, but also attract other manufacturers to follow in their footsteps.
The LED measurement and sorting equipment manufacturer Whittaker Technology also pointed out that this year, the LED equipment industry is expected to grow, driven by Mini LED-related demand, including equipment sales and testing foundry services. Following the off-season operation in the first quarter, the momentum still looks good in the second quarter.
According to industry sources, after the mass production of terminal products, there will be a relatively large room for cost reduction. In other words, whoever gets the big order first, the cost can be lowered first.
Mini LED products have come out one after another, and related manufacturers have entered the stage of mass production. It is expected that Mini LED orders will have high visibility in 2021, which is expected to drive the continuous growth of related manufacturers in all links of the industry chain.