Apple, AUO and Epistar to establish a $334 million mini-LED and micro-LED production fab in Taiwan?

According to a report from Taiwan's Economic Daily news, a new mini-LED and micro-LED display factory is under planning in Taiwan's Hsinchu Science Park. The new fab is built by Apple (who will invest $334 million) in collaboration with AU Optronics and Epistar.

AUO 12.1'' Micro-LED display prototype (IFA 2018)

According to the report, the Science Park Administartion approved Apple, Auo and Epistar's plan on February 18. The new fab will act as an expansion of Apple's existing display center in Taiwan.

Konka to use Aixtron's CVD reactors to produce its own microLED devices

In December 2019, China-based display maker Konka launched its tiled large micro-LED displays, under the APHAEA brand. The company demonstrated two such displays - a 118" 4K one that costs $240,000 and a 236" 8K one that costs $1.25 million.

Konka APHAEA microLEDs at CES 2020

Konka is gearing up to produce its own MicroLED and miniLED chips, and has ordered several of the company's production systems, specifically the AIX G5+ C and AIX 2800G4-TM MOCVD systems. Konka will use these CVD reactors to produces GaN-based and AsP-based microLEDs and miniLEDs.

Samsung aims to start producing real microLED TVs in 2020, partners with Epistar and PlayNitride

Digitimes reports that Samsung Electronics has partnered with Taiwan-based Epistar to supply the Korean display maker with micro-LED chips, as it aims to release its first microLED TVs in H2 2020.

Samsung 146'' micro-LED TV, The Wall

According to Digitimes, Epistar will work together with PlayNitride to supply the microLEDs. Epistar is an investor in PlayNitride. Digitimes says that PlayNitride is currently producing over 1,000 6" microLED wafers per month, and is aiming to increase its production capacity to 10,000 monthly wafer this year.

Epistar and Leyard Opto-Electronics to build a $142 million micro-LED and mini-LED production fab in China

Taiwan-based LED producer Epistar is in talks with China-based LED display maker Leyard Opto-Electronic to setup a Mini-LED and Micro-LED production site in Wuxi, China. The two companies (actually Leyard and Epistar's subsidiary Yenrich Technology) will setup a joint-venture with a budget of $142 million.

Leyard says that the plan is to form the joint venture six months after getting the final approval for the plan. This will enable the production to begin in the new fab in 2023. It is still not clear whether the new fab will produce mini and micro LED chips - or actual displays.

Rohinni and BOE launch a micro-LED JV called BOE Pixey, first products to reach the market by the end of 2020

In early 2019 Rohinni announced a collaboration with China-based display maker BOE, and now the companies announced that they are launching the JV as a separate company called BOE Pixey, which will design and build micro-LED based LCD display backlights and direct-emission displays - focusing on large-area displays (32-inch and up).

Rohinni flexible Micro-LED lighting prototype photo

BOE Pixel will also develop related sensors for large-format displays. BOE Pixey integrates Rohinni's mini-LED and micro-LED manufacturing process with BOE's display panel production experience and leadership. The company says that first products that utilize its displays will reach the market in the second half of 2020.

Konka launches tiled large microLED TV displays - with the 236" 8K one priced at $1.25 million

China-based display maker Konka launched tiled large micro-LED displays, under the APHAEA brand. These are modular displays (similar to Samsung's The Wall and Sony' Crystal LED displays) and Konka demonstrated several possible configurations - including 118" 4K and 236" 8K.

Konka APHAEA microLED TV launch

Konka already announced the prices of its new TVs - the 118" 4K one costs around $240,000 while the 236" 8K TV costs $1.25 million. For those that think that this is extremely expensive, Konka says that the cost is around 30% cheaper than a comparable Samsung The Wall TV (Samsung is not disclosing the prices of these tailor made displays).

Samsung Electronics said to mull a microLED TV mass production investment in 2020

According to ETNews, Samsung Electronics is considering to start investing in a microLED TV production facility and equipment in the first half of 2020. ETNews says that Samsung did not yet decide on the investment amount or its production output goals - but microLED equipment makers are hoping for Samsung's orders.

Samsung The Wall Luxury photo

If Samsung will indeed start to invest in microLED production in earnest, this will quite a surprise as microLED production costs are still very high and it is unlikely that prices will drop enough in the near future to appeal to the consumer market. There are also technical challenges yet to overcome.