The US-China trade war may have implications on the display industry, and microLEDs in particular

In a new and interesting analysis, the Korea Times suggests that the US is considering adding display technologies, mostly next-gen displays OLEDs, to the list of restricted technologies and may ask Japan and Korea to stop selling materials and equipment to Chinese display makers. 

F-35 helmet HMD photo

Apparently the US government is still debating over this decision. OLED displays are used in defense applications, but OLED displays, unlike semiconductors, can be replaced with LCDs without effecting performance much, which means that hurting China's OLED industry will not have a strategic effect on China outside of the display industry. China today is the world's leading display maker by volume, but Korea is still leading in OLED display production. This decision, if happens will have more economic implications than strategic ones. 


This is a very interesting development, and the emerging microLED industry could be widely effected. Moving OLED production outside of Asia will be challenging, as the supply chain constraints are very large. But with MicroLEDs, it may be easier to de-couple production and start producing microLEDs in the US or Europe. This could mean that if the US will give incentives for companies to bring back display production to the US, it will mostly target microLED technologies. This will be interesting to watch!

Posted: Apr 29,2023 by Ron Mertens