TVs & Audio | May 20, 2023
Currently, only LG and Samsung are capable of manufacturing large-format OLED panels used in televisions found in stores. There is a possibility that the Chinese giant BOE may enter this market before 2023 expires, but for now, the organic matrix industry for televisions is dominated solely by the two major South Korean technology companies.
During the latest edition of CES, we witnessed the impact of Samsung’s entry into this market, which has pushed LG to give its maximum effort. The fierce competition between these two companies has led to users being able to purchase LG televisions that incorporate an MLA-type OLED panel (with microlenses), as well as the new Samsung televisions that feature a second-generation QD-OLED matrix.
However, an absolutely unexpected event has just occurred, reminding us of the complex relationship that some technology companies maintain, where competition does not prevent them from signing agreements that, at first glance, benefit both parties. This is precisely what Samsung and LG have done. According to Reuters, LG is going to start selling its W-OLED panels to its South Korean competitor, and it will do so soon, before the end of the second quarter of 2023.
The highly likely entry of BOE into the large-format OLED panel market could seriously compromise the competitiveness of Samsung and LG. Furthermore, the current delicate economic situation is not making things any easier. In fact, LG Display, the subsidiary specialized in the design and manufacture of display panels, has reported significantly lower profits for the first quarter of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022.
These are the circumstances under which LG and Samsung have reached this agreement. The sources that have revealed it claim that LG Display will deliver two million OLED panels to Samsung in 2024, and from 2025 onwards, this number will increase to five million units. With such a large quantity of panels, it is evident that this is not a hastily improvised alliance; it is part of a long-term strategy aimed at sustainability.
Samsung will initially receive W-OLED panels in sizes of 77 and 83 inches from LG Display, and presumably, they will also be supplied with panels of smaller sizes. This agreement, on paper, will allow Samsung to surpass Sony and become the second-largest global manufacturer of OLED televisions, just behind LG.
Currently, LG holds a 54.6% market share in the OLED TV market, followed by Sony at a distant 26.1%. Samsung currently holds a modest 6.1% market share. It remains to be seen how these figures will evolve once the agreement between the Korean companies is solidified.