Mini LED and Micro LED bring a new opportunity to the display industry, because better display effect is conducive to TFT LCD or new display technology to compete with OLED. However, at present, Mini LED applications are still limited to the high-end market and have not yet been popularized, while Micro LED has technical bottlenecks to be overcome. The main reason is that these advanced technologies have many details that need to be adjusted from R & D to application, and they need to be integrated after the introduction of major brands.
At present, the biggest brand manufacturers that can affect the development of the industry include Apple, Samsung, LG LG, and Huawei, a rapidly rising mainland China.
Although Apple's LED suppliers have been mainly Japanese-based manufacturers such as Nichia, Samsung has placed many orders for LEDs with Sanan Optoelectronics in recent years, and LG's LEDs have been mostly commissioned by mainland Chinese manufacturers to produce them. Actively foster local suppliers. Overall, it seems that the LED supply chain of major brands seems to have a binding trend.
However, because Mini LED / Micro LED is still very new technology, and the display and LED industry in Taiwan has been developed for decades, the foundation is quite deep. It has first-mover advantage in the early stage of new technology production, so it is necessary to enter the brand at this stage. The factory supply chain is not completely without opportunities.
It is rumored that Apple may introduce Mini LED backlight design from iMAC in the second half of 2019. Although the main supplier of Mini LED in the early stage is still Nichia, the new iPad and some MacBooks that are planned to be launched in the fourth quarter of 2020 to the first half of 2021. If Mini LED backlight technology is expanded, Taiwan ’s leading LED chip Electricity may have the opportunity to break into Apple's supply chain.
Epistar is one of the world's largest suppliers of LED epitopes and LED chips. Since the second half of 2018, Epistar has supplied a small amount of Mini LEDs, including red, green and blue RGB Mini LEDs that can be used in large display screens, and used in gaming displays, Mini LED for mobile phones and automotive lighting. For the future development of Mini LED and Micro LED, another 100% -owned subsidiary, Yuanfeng New Technology, was set up to take charge of related business, and handed down downstream packaging and module manufacturing to its strategic partner, Tiantian Technology, with positive steps.
It is worth noting that if Apple considers using LED suppliers other than Japanese manufacturers, in addition to Jingdian, in fact, there are other manufacturers in Taiwan that have special advantages in Mini LED and Micro LED, such as Hon Hai Group.
Hon Hai Group not only has a strong foundation in the field of electronic downstream assembly, but has also successfully integrated LED packaging and epitaxy / chips as well as the panel supply chain in recent years. Whether it is the development of Mini LED or Micro LED in backlight or active display, it is necessary to highly integrate LED and TFT panel / back panel technology, not to mention Hon Hai is the main system assembly plant of Apple and many major brands.
Chu Chao, a research associate at LEDinside, thinks that in the long term, new technologies such as Mini LED or Micro LED need continuous improvement and cost reduction in order to enter the mainstream consumer market. If only focusing on high-end application products, there will be fewer shipments and lower costs. But the difficulty now is that many design steps need to be fine-tuned, the production process needs to be improved in detail, and even the equipment may require new capital expenditures.
Therefore, if a major brand or system manufacturer is willing to actively participate in the integration of the supply chain, it will have a bonus effect on the entire supply chain and help accelerate the development of Mini LED and Micro LED technologies. According to forecasts, the penetration rate of Mini LED backlight may still be very low in 2019, and after 2023, there is a chance to reach more than 10%.