The display equipped on the coming iPhones next year might no longer be monopolised by the South Korean brands Samsung and LG, with Apple being close to providing certification for screens manufactured by BOE, the largest display maker in China, according to a Nikkei Asian Review report.
The Cupertino-based Apple is "aggressively testing" BOE's flexible OLED displays, according to the report. Apple will decide whether to take on BOE as a supplier by the end of this year. The potential move to using BOE screens as an alternative to Samsung and LG would be to cut costs and reduce reliance on the South Korean technology giants.
Founded in Beijing in 1993, BOE is one of the world's largest display makers, supplying screens for smartphones, TVs, and other electronic devices and home appliances. BOE is also one of the major screen suppliers to Huawei, China's largest smartphone brand. BOE has experienced strong growth in recent years mainly due to the popularity of Huawei phones, with BOE displays currently being utilised in Huawei's most popular smartphone models, including the high-end P and Mate series.
BOE's flexible OLED was ranked second in the world in terms of shipment figures, holding a market share of 11% during the first quarter of this year, according to research data. It nevertheless still lags far behind Samsung, which owned 81% market share of the OLED market in the same quarter.
The global display panel market was valued at $128.73 billion in 2018, and is expected to reach $165 billion by 2024, representing a compound annual growth rate of 4.2% during the forecast period, according to the findings by Research and Markets published in February.
BOE has long been reported as a potential supplier for Apple as the latter continues to struggle from declining iPhone sales and growing competition from major Android brands, which unlike Apple, offer various types of cost-effective smartphone options that lay outside of the premium mobile market.
In the second quarter of 2019, Samsung and Huawei reported 5.5% and 8.3% growth, respectively, in terms of global smartphone shipments, while Apple's shipment numbers slumped by 18.2% due to the weak demands from various markets, according to an IDC report published in late July.
Apple is currently ranked third globally in the amount of smartphones shipped globally.
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