S. Korea’s OLED Exports To Japan Hit Record High In June

South Korea’s OLED panel exports to Japan more than doubled to hit a record high last month, data showed Wednesday, bucking the trend of weakening global demand for displays.

South Korea’s shipments of organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels to Japan totaled US$13.2 million in June, skyrocketing 129.2 percent from a year earlier, according to the data from the state-run Institute of Information & Communications Technology Planning & Evaluation (IITP).

The sharp hike in OLED sales drove up the total panel shipments to Japan to $30 million last month, their highest-ever level, offsetting a 28.9 percent decline in liquid crystal display (LCD) sales in the nation, the IITP noted.

South Korea’s display exports shrank 26.6 percent on-year to $1.59 billion last month, the biggest fall in more than two years due to weak demand and a supply glut among Chinese makers, the data showed.

Panel shipments to China, South Korea’s top market, tumbled 28 percent on-year in June, while those to Vietnam and Mexico dipped 10.2 percent and 78 percent, respectively, over the period, the institute said.

By category, LCD panel sales in the global market plunged 43.3 percent last month, and OLED sales slipped 12.5 percent.

The increased OLED sales in Japan bucked the global trend of weakening demand for panels in the same period, raising speculation that Japanese companies may have tried to secure supplies ahead of Tokyo’s imposition of tougher export regulations on South Korea.

On July 4, Japan adopted tougher export regulations for three high-tech materials bound for South Korea, including fluorine polyimide used to make flexible OLED displays.

“The strong demand for OLED panels in Japan shows that tougher export regulations against South Korea could affect Japanese companies if Korean panel makers suffer supply chain disruptions,” an official at a Korean display maker said.

Some attributed the sharp rise in OLED sales in Japan to the increasing popularity of high-end TVs there and increased production capacity by Korean makers.

LG Display Co. is the world’s largest OLED display maker and provides large panels for TVs to Japanese vendors like Sony and Panasonic.

“The increased sales of OLED panels in Japan is an inevitable trend as display makers have been grappling with falling prices in LCD panels due to oversupply by Chinese makers,” Choi Jae-won, a researcher at IITP, said. “Japan has shown rising demand for OLED panels for premium TVs and smartphones.”―Yonhap News Agency

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