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Trends and outlook of Korea’s display materials & components industry

1. Global display materials and components market forecast

The global market for display materials and components is expected to grow from KRW 37.7 billion in 2019 to KRW 38.3 billion and KRW 42 billion, showing an average annual growth rate of 2.2 percent by the year 2020 and 2024, respectively.

<Global display materials & components market outlook>

(Unit: USD 1 million, yoy%)

Global display materials & components market outlook
Classification 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024
materials & components
8,479 8,633 8,759 8,853 8,904 8,926
LCD materials & components 25,515 25,440 25,583 25,792 25,977 26,140
OLED materials & components 1,859 2,209 2,558 3,100 3,664 4,271
Touch screen materials & components 1,902 2,033 2,221 2,434 2,567 2,662
Total 37,755 38,315 39,121 40,180 41,112 41,999

* Source : Fuji Chimera Research 2019

Of all product segments, the materials and components used to make LCD screens take up the largest proportion of the market share at 68 percent (USD 25.5 billion) as of 2019. Despite the ongoing global LCD market contraction, China’s increasing production capacity and market trends in transition to bigger visual panel size appear to sustain the growth, reaching an annual average growth rate of 0.5 percent or KRW 26.1 billion by 2024.

Falling prices of liquid crystal and polymerizing plates (or polarizer), the key materials that constitute the LCD panels, is currently shrinking the market share, whereas soaring demand for other applications such as quantum dot (QD) film, a thin layer coated on top of the flat screen panels-mainly applied to the surface of the LCD TV- or backlight unit (BLU) for automotive LCD panels is predicted to lead the robust growth. With rising shipping volume of QD films, produced by Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., as well as television manufacturers in China, the market is projected to reach the highest annual growth rate of 21 percent on average by 2024.

The market value of OLED materials for the next few years is estimated to move upward from USD 1.9 billion in 2019 to USD 4.3 billion in 2024, with a bigger share doubling from five to ten percent of all materials & components industries for the same period.

The product portfolio such as organic synthetic chemistry or polarizer which includes emissive materials (EML) is currently dominant in the market, but components that are applicable to flexible displays or QD-Ink are forecast to evolve into the key sources of sales revenue in the coming years.

Polyamide (PI) film and Ultra Thin Glass (UTG) that officially debuted in 2019 as commercial display applications in the spotlight to be used as the cover for bendable or rollable displays are witnessing tremendous growth annually.
With its unique properties to be utilized to make super large OLED screens, QD-Ink is seen as the next hot topic in the display industry, forming the fourth largest share in the display materials market.

2. Industrial competitiveness of materials and components business in Korea

Continuous efforts to achieve technological autonomy has enabled display manufacturers in Korea to build self-reliance in production of some of key parts; polymerizing panels, BLU, photomask and organically synthesized products (EML, HIL). Korea, however, still shows high external dependence on core technologies, relying heavily on imports from Japan and the US.

An index which signifies to what extent a country can be self-sufficient in technology to produce materials and key components for domestic supply, says Korea recorded 65 percent and 75 percent in LCD and OLED products, separately.

Flagship companies producing display materials and components in Korea are LG chem and Samsung SDI; major suppliers of polarizer and OLEDs, Dongjin Semichem Co., Ltd and ENF technology; wet chemical producers, Kolon Industry, MNtech, Hyosung, SKC hi-tech & marketing, the largest film makers and DS neolux. Products of these top players are not only supplied inside Korea but consumed by numerous display makers in mainland China and Taiwan.

3. Global display manufacturers in Korea

With panel makers in Korea ensuring greater manufacturing capacity and rapid growth since 2000, a group of the world’s leading display producers such as Merck (Germany), offering customer specific liquid crystal products, the largest glass maker Corning (USA) and display material suppliers, NEG, AGC, Dongwoo Fine-Chem and Toray (Japan) have started to enter and settle down in Korea, infiltrating into some of the less developed industrial base. Being a stimulator, their market entry has helped Korean display businesses scale up their capabilities since then, as key components and high-tech solutions that these multinational brands were churning out have begun to be part of the supply chain.

<Global display companies in Korea>

Global display companies in Korea
Countries Companies Products Production plants in Korea
Japan Dongwoo Fine-Chem Color filter, Polaroid film Iksan, Pyeogtaek
Toray Advanced Materials Korea Inc. Display optical film Gumi, Gunsan
SU Materials PI Varnish Asan
Nitto NPF(polarizer protective film) Pyeongtaek
Asahi Glass Fine Techno Korea LCD glass Gumi
PEG LCD glass Paju
CotemKorea Photo resist Paju
USA DuPont Korea Small-molecule luminescent materials Cheonan
Corning LCD / OLED glass Cheonan
Germany Merck Liquid crystal Pyeongtaek

4. Global partnership to advance the next generation display materials

LG chem and Universal Display Corporation (UDC) headquartered in the US, signed a strategic partnership in 2019 to co-develop next generation OLED luminescent materials.
Sharing their specialty―low voltage, long life “host”, part of light emitting materials that LG has supplied and UDC’s “phosphorescent dopant”, excellent in efficiency and its performance―both agreed to team up to find the best combination of the two. As part of OLED’s multi-layered luminous materials, hosts produce light combining electrons injected into another thin layer. LG’s product boasts a longer life span, which enables electric charges running through the materials to transport at low voltage. UDC's phosphorescent dopant features absolute high color reproduction and longevity. When perfectly combined, it is highly likely that the combo can help get the most out of wide color gamut (WCG), which magnifies color reproducibility to reproduce images to be richer and more vivid.

Two big display panel makers in Korea―LG Display and Samsung Display―separately reached a joint development agreement with Kyulux, Inc., a Hyperfluorescence developer in Japan, in 2018 to further advance Thermally Activated Delayed Hyperfluorescence (TADF). Prior to the partnership, both Samsung Venture Investment and LG Display have already raised JPY 1.5 billion in co-financing into the venture startup, Kyulux, armed with exclusively-licensed technologies for the future OLED display, under the shared goals to improve display performance showing longer duration and better efficiency, which can dramatically reduce energy consumption and (almost 90 percent of) the raw material costs currently paid for.

By Choi Young-daeManaging DirectorKorea Display Industry Association (

*The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the views of KOTRA.

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