According to consulting research firm, DRAMeXchange, thanks to Apple, Samsung, and other Chinese brands, the import of AMOLED models is expanding. The report shows that 2021 smartphones with AMOLED panels have a market penetration rate of 42%. However, as panel makers continue to invest in AMOLED production line expansion, the penetration rate is expected to climb to 46% in 2022. TrendForce Consulting further claims that the tight supply of AMOLED DDI and the willingness of mobile phone brands to expand the use of AMOLED panels are the main factors for AMOLED market penetration rate next year.
The AMOLED DDI process requires 40nm and 28nm medium voltage 8V dedicated processes. However, the supply of dedicated process capacity in 2021 is limited. In addition, Samsung’s Austin, Texas fab suspended work due to a snowstorm in early 2021, resulting in serious shortages of AMOLED DDI. There is higher production of UMC (UMC) 28nm and SMIC (SMIC) 40nm. However, the larger production capacity is still not enough to meet the demand for AMOLED DDI. Samsung fab will continue to reduce the production scale of OLED DDIC in the future. The expectation is that AMOLED DDI will still be out of stock in 2022.
TrendForce Consulting claims that UMC’s main expansion plan for 28nm AMOLED DDI will be complete by the end of 2023. Thus, the tight supply of AMOLED DDI will probably ease up in 2023. In addition, other foundries have plans to develop a dedicated AMOLED DDI process. However, due to the late development time, they cannot help with the shortage of AMOLED DDI in 2022.
Intense competition for AMOLED DDI production
Due to the limitation of AMOLED DDI special process production capacity, traditional first-line driver IC manufacturers are actively booking most of the production capacity. In addition, other driver IC manufacturers are also competing for limited production capacity.
Considering the gradual maturity of AMOLED panel technology and the continuous improvement of product yield, TrendForce forecasts that the market penetration rate will increase from 42% in 2021 to 46% in 2022. It will therefore compress the market share of LTPS panels in the mid-range market. It will also drive panel makers to transfer LTPS production capacity to medium-sized applications.
However, in 2022, mobile phone brands adopting AMOLED DDI will still face the risk of shortages. In addition, the price of AMOLED panels remains high, and the prices of other semiconductor components continue to rise. TrendForce expects that a small number of AMOLED products may convert to LCD panels. These LCD panels will be relevant for the low-end mobile phone market. The LTPS panels will come in handy for the mid-end mobile phone market.