China wants to supply OLEDs to Apple for upcoming 2018 iPhones

By Shehryar Ahmed on
July 23, 2018
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China is reportedly planning to take up the responsibility of supplying OLED panels to the Cupertino giant for the upcoming 2018 iPhones. According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, BOE Technology Group, based in Beijing, is pushing to become an official supplier of OLED panels to Apple.

BOE Technology currently supplies displays for MacBooks and iPads. Additionally, it is also the world’s top supplier of large LCD screens. BOE is currently the only Chinese company that supplies Apple with displays and now, it is planning to supply OLEDs to the Cupertino giant as well. Two of the three variants of Apple’s upcoming 2018 iPhones will have OLEDs while the third variant, a budget iPhone, will have a 6.1-inch LCD.

OLED manufacturing is different than conventional LCD manufacturing. It requires multiple organic elements to be used and additionally, pinpoint precision in order to make the OLED flexible. As per reports, even Samsung has a high OLED wastage rate despite the Korean giants being the pioneer of the technology.

From a corporate’s point of view, if Apple decides to choose BOE as a supplier, ties with the Chinese government will be strengthened as well. BOE is controlled by the Beijing Metropolitan Government and additionally, shares in the firm are owned by several state-sponsored companies. Thereby, collaborating with the company would indefinitely get Apple in the Chinese government’s good books. Obviously, however, BOE would have to match Apple’s quality standards demands in order to become a supplier, something really hard (but not impossible) considering the technicalities involved in the production procedure of OLEDs.

For the Chinese government, besides the revenue, the partnership with Apple would help in putting the country’s advanced display-manufacturing capabilities at par with its competing countries, South Korea and Japan.

Uptil now, Apple’s current flagship smartphones, the iPhone X is the only product which uses an OLED and that too which have been supplied by Samsung. Last year, reports confirmed that the high cost of these OLEDs was a major factor behind the iPhone X being priced at $999. This is probably why Apple has been eager to source OLEDs from other suppliers, including LG and now, BOE Technology.

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