Taiwan to integrate resources for flexible AMOLED industry

Taiwan has decided to integrate all of its panel producers to build a flexible active-matrix organic light- emitting diode (AMOLED) industry that is entirely self-sufficient in the development and manufacture of advanced panels for the fast- growing global market.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) announced last week its full support for the development of the flexible AMOLED industry, pledging government capital for investment in the sector.

Government and private funds will be gathered in the effort to integrate local factories producing materials, equipment, panel modules and system solutions into a fully tailored industry chain to develop Taiwan into a "core-flexible AMOLED industry cluster" for the world, according to the MOEA.

Economics Minister Lee Chih-kung (???) said in the Aug. 16 announcement of the ambitious plan that panels are the key strategic component in Taiwan's information and communication technology (ICT) industry.

There are approximately 100,000 people in Taiwan employed in monitor manufacturing and relevant industries, he said. The overall output of the panel sector in the country reaches over NT$950 billion (US$30.05 billion) each year, accounting for 7.4 percent of the entire manufacturing output, according to the minister.

To maintain Taiwan's global competitiveness, the government has helped build up an industry chain in the manufacture of flexible monitor devices through the MOEA's technology cooperation with domestic businesses over the past eight years, Lee went on.

"Now the ministry is seeking to make up the shortfall (in the industry chain) by working with businesses and relevant (technology) institutes," he said.

The MOEA will lead domestic companies in beginning the production of new-generation flexible monitors as part of efforts to promote the general upgrade of the industry, he added.

Most importantly, all domestic and overseas resources will be gathered for the formation of a national team in the hope that Taiwan can become a global flexible AMOLED core industry cluster, Lee said.

Fu Wei-hsiang (???), director-general of the MOEA's Department of Industrial Technology, said the government has developed a flexible panel-focused industry chain on a research and development platform led by the Industrial Technology Research Institute.

The industry chain currently produces 60 percent of the key materials and 80 percent of the equipment for the manufacture of flexible monitors, Fu said, adding that the goal is to boost these percentages to 100 percent within two years.

Also, Taiwan has successfully developed a model of flexible AMOLED, the official added. The technology will be transferred to domestic companies in the future so that "a national team" in the sector can be organized, he said.

A team of this stature will require funding to the tune of over NT$100 billion to establish, but will create more than 1,500 jobs, Fu assessed.

AMOLED is an advanced display technology used in smartwatches, mobile devices, laptops and televisions. An organic light-emitting diode (OLED) is an LED in which the emissive electroluminescent layer is a film of organic compound that emits light in response to an electric current.

Unlike the mainstream liquid crystal display (LCD), an OLED display works without a backlight. Because of this, it can display deep black levels and can be thinner and lighter than an LCD.

Currently, South Korean electronics giant Samsung dominates the global market for AMOLED panels, according to industry sources.

While Taiwan's economy relies on the export of electronics, it will lose its market share if it is unable to maintain a grip on the key technologies in the manufacture of electronic parts and components, the sources said.

A shortage of AMOLEDs in the global market in recent years has sent Taiwanese factories into a state of lack of inventory, the sources added.

South Korea is the main rival to Taiwan in the global market in this field.

Source: Focus Taiwan