Securities Times reporter Liu Canbang

  Recently, domestic mainstream mobile phone manufacturers have intensively released a variety of folding screen products, from imported to domestic, from low-end to high-end, the current situation of the folding screen supply chain has attracted attention.

  In an interview with a reporter from Securities Times e company, the relevant person in charge of Visionox said that the folding screen is not only a display technology, but also a technology platform that integrates the innovation capabilities of the upstream and downstream industries. Among them, industrial collaboration is very important.

  The industry generally believes that the current domestic supply chain has made great progress.

For example, in terms of panels, BOE, Visionox, Huaxing Optoelectronics, etc. are supplying equally mass-produced folding screen mobile phones, and the bending radius and bending times to measure the performance of foldable panels have been greatly improved; domestic UTG glass, Hinge integrated products, driver chips, etc. are also in the stage of sample delivery testing or simultaneous development.

  Although many domestic suppliers have the technology to adapt to folding screen products, they have not yet achieved mass production and shipment.

One of the reasons behind this is that the shipments of folding screen mobile phones have not reached a sufficient scale. Due to cost control considerations, mobile phone manufacturers will not assign limited orders to multiple suppliers. Therefore, the market acceptance and shipment of folding screens Volume will be an important factor in determining supply chain maturity.

  From the forecasts of various parties, the shipments of folding screen mobile phones will increase several times in the next few years, and supply chain manufacturers are also actively stocking technologies and expanding production capacity.

However, judging from reporters' interviews, there are still differences between the parties on the prospect of folding screens. One is that there are obvious pain points in terms of weight and thickness, and the other is that the practicality has not been recognized by the public.

Liu Yushi, a senior analyst at CINNO Research, told reporters that the next development trend of folding screens should be to strengthen the unique application scenarios of folding screens as much as possible while striving to make up for shortcomings.

Foldable panels will continue to innovate

  In the folding screen supply chain, panel manufacturers are undoubtedly at the core.

At present, mainstream OLED panel manufacturers such as Samsung, LGD, BOE, Visionox, Huaxing Optoelectronics, and Tianma have their own folding screen solutions.

As far as design and application are concerned, according to different terminal consumer demands, flexible display terminals are mainly folded up and down, left and right inwardly folded, and slipped and curled.

  在现有折叠产品中,小米MIX FOLD由华星光电供货,OPPO Find N主屏和副屏分别来自三星和京东方,华为P50 Pocket使用了维信诺的面板,Mate X2使用京东方面板,荣耀Magic V的面板供应商包括京东方等,三星的折叠屏产品则使用自家面板。去年末以来,折叠屏手机迎来一轮发布潮。记者从业内了解到,自去年初发布MIX FOLD产品后,小米下一代折叠屏产品也已经在路上;小米针对左右折叠及竖折叠产品均有规划,但最终上市的折叠形态是一种还是两者兼具还需要等待发布确认。

  “主流面板厂商很早就开始研发可折叠产品,到2018年时,各大厂商基本均已有相关项目或样品。”刘雨实在接受证券时报·e公司记者采访时表示,折叠屏经历了多次内部迭代,在弯折次数、折痕、抗冲击等方面反复改进,呈现在市面上的形态已经是现行较好的解决方案了。

  谈到折叠显示产品的核心考量因素,维信诺负责人向记者介绍说,折叠产品的弯折半径决定了折叠终端产品的外观形态,弯折次数也代表了折叠产品弯折的基本能力,折叠产品的抗冲击能力,则代表了折叠产品在消费者手中的耐用性,此外还包括屏体显示的可靠性等。“就屏幕而言,面板厂商要兼顾折叠屏的弯折半径和产品可靠性,从屏体和模组角度进行全面优化,对屏体封装、膜层结构的应力管控等进行严格把关,才能满足终端客户的需求。”该负责人说道。

  折叠屏与此前盛行的曲面屏都属于柔性AMOLED范畴,但与普通柔性曲面屏“只折一次”相比,折叠屏需要承受多次、反复弯折,因此需要优化结构设计以及相应的机构组件配合。两者的差别还有成本,刘雨实告诉记者,由于采用较新的工艺、膜层结构等原因,即使不考虑额外新增外部结构,折叠面板成本也要高于普通面板。在他看来,未来可以通过在参数与终端价格之间找到平衡点,并尝试通过新设计、大规模等方式降低成本。

  In an interview with reporters, the person in charge of Visionox also talked about the considerations related to product design.

"Panel manufacturers need to fully consider the needs of users when designing folding products. For example, top-bottom folding products are more popular with consumers who have high requirements for portability, and users who have a strong demand for larger display areas are more willing to use left-right folding phones. , the design of the folding screen should also consider the coordination and adaptation of the terminal's morphological structure, hinge, battery, etc."

  The person in charge believes that there are two main innovation directions for foldable panels in the future. One is to improve the reliability of foldable products through innovative technologies. Various technologies such as under-screen camera and sensor integration are introduced into the folding screen, making the screen thinner and lighter, with a larger screen-to-body ratio, and promoting the development of the folding industry.

 Domestic supporting enterprises have not yet supplied large-scale

  The panel occupies a key position in the folding screen supply chain and plays a role as a link between the previous and the next. On the one hand, it is necessary to discuss and define the terminal product form with downstream manufacturers, and on the other hand, it must reflect the real demand to upstream supply chain manufacturers.

Among them, the supporting progress of upstream supply chain manufacturers is also very critical. At present, many domestic manufacturers have launched product research and development suitable for folding screens.

  The reporter called Changying Precision, and a company official told the reporter that from the first generation of Samsung to the latest folding model, the company has been cooperating with the development work, but has not achieved mass production, the main reason is that the shipments of folding screen mobile phones have not It is not particularly large, and the same part cannot be distributed to multiple suppliers.

"Otherwise, the cost of components may be high, and it will be difficult for everyone to make money."

  Changying Precision mainly involves the hinge integration part of the folding screen. According to the reporter's understanding, Changying Precision has supplied frame products to OPPO's new folding screen mobile phone. In this mobile phone, Changying Precision exclusively supplies frame products.

As for when it can be mass-produced and supplied to Samsung in the future, the company believes that it depends on the scale of shipments of folding screens.

"According to previous experience, if a mobile phone manufacturer wants to separate multiple suppliers, the shipment of a single model will generally reach 15 million units." Changying Precision told reporters that although the sales of folding models are good, but Obviously, this scale has not yet been reached; in addition, the person also revealed that the company's target customers for products suitable for folding screens are mainly Samsung, OPPO and vivo.

  Changxin Technology's products for folding screen mobile phones are mainly UTG glass. According to company sources, domestic mobile phone manufacturers have not released folding products using UTG glass, while Samsung's listed products use UTG glass.

"The domestic folding mobile phones basically use CPI, which is a material similar to plastic. From the test situation, UTG glass will not have obvious creases like CPI, and its performance is better."

  A person from Changxin Technology told reporters that the company has the mass production capacity of UTG glass, and has provided samples to end customers, and the test feedback is also being communicated.

As for the cost difference between UTG and CPI, the person did not mention much, "All products can only dilute the cost when they reach a certain scale. UTG is still in the sample delivery stage, and the yield rate will definitely increase in the future."

  Visionox also reported the difference between UTG and CPI to reporters.

The person in charge of the company pointed out that both UTG and CPI belong to the category of cover materials used on the surface of the folding screen. Among them, UTG is an ultra-thin glass, which is not easy to have creases, but is slightly worse in bending performance and impact resistance. Also higher.

"In contrast, CPI has good flexibility and controllable cost. It is widely used in current folding mobile phones, but the crease problem caused by it has also attracted much attention." Regarding the crease problem of CPI, Visionox The person in charge told reporters that it can be optimized through the improvement of the folding scheme and the upgrade of the screen material in the hinge area.

  The reporter noticed that domestic manufacturers also have reserves in terms of CPI. Xinlun New Materials stated on the interactive platform that the main customers of the company's optoelectronic materials include Glory, OPPO, vivo, BOE, Huaxing Optoelectronics, etc. The company believes that the volume of folding screens will help The company's CPI cover, foldable OCA, folding protective film and other products are mass-produced.

  The driver chip is also an important supporting link in the folding screen industry chain. The folding screen belongs to flexible AMOLED, which is different from rigid OLED and LCD, and also has new requirements for display driver chips.

In addition, since folding screen products often switch between two different states of folding and unfolding, this requires AMOLED driver chips to have corresponding driving methods and algorithms to support.

  From the perspective of the market share of AMOLED driver chips, Samsung will take the lead with 50.4% in 2020, and the market shares of manufacturers such as Magnachip, Siliconworks, and Anapass will be 33.2%, 2.7%, and 2.4%, respectively.

It is worth mentioning that the first 28nm driver chip in China is adopted in the Honor Magic V, which is believed by the industry to provide a favorable environment for the development of local AMOLED driver chips.

  Talking about the current status of coordinated development of the folding screen industry chain, the person in charge of Visionox told reporters that in the process of industrial collaboration, screen manufacturers need to control the stress of the module structure, film packaging suitable for folding, flexible module equipment, laser The stripping module process and other aspects make efforts to make the screen have sufficient reliability; upstream manufacturers need to continuously improve the performance of raw materials and components such as OCA optical glue, cover plate, touch control, etc., downstream manufacturers need to focus on product form, hinge design, application Adaptation and other aspects of innovation.

  "Folding screen is not only a display technology, but also a technology platform that integrates the upstream and downstream innovation capabilities of the display industry. In addition to the above-mentioned technological innovations, industrial collaboration also requires an ecological network matrix formed around flexible displays to integrate information flow, talent, technology, Capital, etc. to get through." The person in charge said.

There is still a gap in the maturity of the industry chain

  In recent years, the folding screen industry chain has made great progress.

An industry source who did not want to be named said in an interview with reporters that there are many key components in the upstream of the industry chain, such as AMOLED flexible screens, hinges, flexible covers, and content adaptation.

"These key components have overcome many problems in the past two years and become more and more mature."

  Taking AMOLED displays as an example, the progress of the industry chain is reflected in multiple levels, including the increase in the number of foldings, the reduction in power consumption, and the reduction in cost.

"Although flexible AMOLED is very thin, it is composed of more than ten layers of film, and it can still display normally after being folded hundreds of thousands of times, which requires a special film structure." said the above-mentioned industry source.

In terms of power consumption, the progress is also very obvious.

In terms of logic, the larger the folding display screen, the more power consumption will inevitably increase. Due to the larger battery, the weight of the folding phone will also increase, which will bring inconvenience to consumers. Therefore, it is necessary to further reduce the power consumption of the display screen. .

In the middle, new technologies have played an important role, such as frequency conversion and low power consumption technology, no polarizer technology and so on.

  Regarding cost, the above-mentioned industry sources said that flexible AMOLED manufacturers achieve this by improving product yield and reducing the cost of raw materials for display screens.

"At present, the yield rate of mature products has reached a very impressive figure. The price of the whole machine will drop, and the price of components will also drop." "The price of foldable panels is relatively high, mainly due to the large display area and raw materials. High prices, panel factory yields and scale and other factors are caused by a combination of factors." The person in charge of Visionox told reporters that with the coordinated cost reduction of the industry chain, as well as the increase in the application of terminal products and the release of more panel production capacity, the folding screen There is still room for further improvement in yield, and product prices will further drop.

  The data learned by the reporter from the industry shows that Samsung's folding mobile phone shipments account for more than 90%. Therefore, the development status of the folding screen industry chain at home and abroad is also different.

The above-mentioned industry sources pointed out that due to the support of Samsung, the current foreign folding screen industry chain is more mature, and there is still a certain gap in China. The key module materials of folding screens, such as cover plates and transparent optical glue, still rely on imports.

  However, the localization of the folding product supply chain is also actively implemented. The interviewed industry sources said that the current cooperation in flexible cover sheets, ultra-thin glass, supporting substrates, etc. is progressing smoothly, and many companies with innovative technologies have emerged. The technological maturity and integrity of the industrial chain are constantly improving, and the cost is gradually decreasing. It is expected to reach the international leading level within 2 to 3 years.

  In response to the localization of panels, the person in charge of Visionox told reporters that China has a good foundation in flexible AMOLED, which is mainly reflected in the panel technology and production capacity, the upstream industry chain, and the huge downstream terminal application market; At the same time, the market demand is strong, and the industry chain is developing rapidly, and more and more domestic screens will be applied to folding mobile phones in the future.

  When it comes to mobile phones, there are also system ecological issues that cannot be avoided.

A phenomenon worthy of attention is that OPPO's latest folding product has chosen a size and proportion design that is significantly different from other similar products.

"The size and proportion of OPPO's folding products are only available to them, which leads to the need to re-adapt existing applications." A person from a mobile phone manufacturer told reporters.

  According to the person, at present, Samsung has the highest market share of folding screen mobile phones, and all application adaptations are dominated by Samsung. Therefore, the folding screen products of Huawei, Xiaomi and other manufacturers also use similar size specifications as Samsung, with Reduce the difficulty of application adaptation as much as possible.

"But even so, there will be problems of one kind or another."

  It is difficult to say what the intention of OPPO's unusual design is, but for domestic manufacturers, there is still a long way to go if they want their own folding products to have enough influence on the Android ecosystem.

The above-mentioned industry person mentioned similar problems. He believes that it is urgent for software developers and terminal manufacturers to create corresponding application scenarios and create a more convenient and better application experience.

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