Innolux Corp (群創) is supporting Sharp Corp’s construction of its first organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display production line, which might open the door for joint investments in future OLED plants to avoid investment overlap, a company executive said yesterday.
Innolux has been working with Sharp to accelerate the commercialization of OLED technology, after the Osaka-based company became a subsidiary of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) via a share sale deal worth US$3.5 billion in April last year.
Innolux is Hon Hai’s Taiwan-based LCD display manufacturing arm.
Integrating group resources, Sharp and Innolux engineers jointly worked on research and development at Innolux’s fab before Sharp started its own G4.5 OLED fab, Hon Hai Technology Group (鴻海科技集團) display consultant Tuan Hsing-chien (段行建) said at a news conference yesterday.
At that time, Innolux made faster progress with an experimental OLED line, while Sharp was in the early stages of developing expensive OLED technology, Tuan said.
“We plan to send about 10 Innolux employees from the company’s OLED operation to join Sharp’s new G4.5 [OLED] plant later this month, or in May,” Tuan said.
“This will be the first phase,” for Innolux to participate in Sharp’s OLED plant, Tuan added.
When asked if Innolux planned to build its own OLED plant, Tuan said: “There is no need for Innolux to repeat what Sharp has done.”
“The companies could jointly build an OLED plant. There is no need for all of us to build our own fabs. There is no need for an overlap,” Tuan said.
For the same reason, Innolux might not have to build its own G10 plant to produce larger displays, Tuan said, adding that no Taiwanese companies can afford to build such a plant without government support.
OLED technology requires a massive capital investment and has a higher technological barrier than thin-film-transistor liquid-crystal-display technology.
Sharp has a good chance of beginning to operate its own G4.5 OLED fab next year, Tuan told reporters in May last year, when he accepted the new job at Hon Hai.
Tuan is a former chairman and CEO of Innolux.
He also said at the time that “OLED [technology] is a major consideration for Hon Hai’s investment in Sharp,” as Apple Inc, Hon Hai’s biggest client, was reportedly shifting to OLED displays from low-temperature polycrystalline silicon displays for next-generation iPhones.
Except OLED technology, Innolux and Sharp are complementary in terms of indium-gallium-zinc-oxide technology, panel capacities and factory management skills, Tuan said.
Innolux shares rose 0.68 percent to NT$14.8 in Taipei trading yesterday, outperforming the TAIEX, which gained 0.31 percent.