Trade Resources Industry Views INCJ Began Operations with The Aim of Mass-Producing OLED Display Panels by 2017

INCJ Began Operations with The Aim of Mass-Producing OLED Display Panels by 2017

A joint venture between the government and a consortium of private firms began operations earlier this month with the aim of mass-producing organic light emitting diode (OLED) display panels by 2017.

Established by the Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ), a government-affiliated investment fund, and private companies, including Sony Corp. and Panasonic Corp., JOLED Inc. plans to churn out medium-sized OLED panels for laptop and tablet computers.

OLED display panels, which can be bent or shaped, consume less electricity than other panels and are expected to be a popular component in next-generation televisions and wearable devices.

The technology has lagged behind liquid crystal displays for use in TVs and other large displays.

However, Nobuhiro Higashiiriki, JOLED president, said the company can produce competitive products at low cost, taking advantage of the advanced production technologies of Sony and Panasonic.

“Sony and Panasonic have the accumulated know-how to produce OLED panels through substantial investment, and our company aspires to make effective use of that know-how,” Higashiiriki said during an interview on Jan. 23. “Technology alone cannot ensure our business success. While the company's primary aim is to develop OLED products, we will also mount marketing campaigns to alert consumers to the merits of OLED.”

Higashiiriki said JOLED will finalize details of its new plant to manufacture prototype OLED panels in June, and then decide by the end of 2017 whether or not mass-production of the panels is viable.

He said the new firm will develop methods to mass-produce displays at low cost by taking advantage of Sony’s advanced semiconductor technology and Panasonic’s technology to make panels from organic materials.

Sony and Panasonic have already developed OLED-related technologies to implement display panels for large TV screens, but both withdrew from the business by last July because of the difficulties to mass-produce them at low cost.

JOLED will produce smaller panels for laptops, tablet PCs, monitors for medical equipment and other portable products, which can take advantage of the OLED display’s light weight and thinness.

Unlike the market for small displays for smartphones, which is dominated by South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co., there is no dominant rival in the market for medium-sized displays, which will likely serve as JOLED’s advantage, Higashiiriki said.

INCJ has an equity stake of 75 percent in JOLED, while 15 percent is held by Japan Display Inc., and 5 percent each is owned by Sony and Panasonic.

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