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Konka Displays Guts With Bets On Micro LED, Latest Fund

Konka Group Co Ltd, a Chinese television manufacturer, is beefing up efforts to expand its presence across the semiconductor sector related to displays, spanning material and equipment, chip design, wafer manufacturing, packaging, testing and downstream applications.

Konka’s micro LED products are displayed during a high-tech exhibition in Chongqing on Dec 18. 

The semiconductor sector is one of the country’s strategic emerging industries, and micro light-emitting diodes are a new generation of semiconductor display technology.

They have huge market potential, especially in ultra-large screen and wearable devices, due to their advantages such as high brightness, high contrast and low energy consumption, said Zhou Bin, president of Konka.

Li Hongtao, vice-president of Konka, said the company will concentrate on mastering core technologies in the semiconductor industry, and increase research and development efforts in key areas of materials, technology, craftsmanship and talent, so as to bolster the micro LED segment and new generation display technologies.

Li also said micro LED technology can be applied to a variety of scenarios from micro displays to large commercial displays and will certainly bring about enormous business opportunities, with its market scale expected to surpass $1 trillion in the future.

In addition, Konka announced it plans to establish a joint-venture equity investment fund with a focus on the semiconductor industry. Chongqing Liangshan Industrial Investment Co Ltd and Chongqing Kangshan Investment Co Ltd will be the other two partners.

With 2 billion yuan ($305.4 million), the fund will focus on investments in semiconductor-related new materials and equipment, chips, integrated circuit design, packaging and testing.

China will strengthen its national strategic technologies next year, and step up efforts to resolve major difficulties that constrain national development and security, according to the annual tone-setting Central Economic Work Conference which was held from Dec 16 to 18.

Konka also showcased the world’s first Micro LED smart watch, which features a 2-inch micro LED microchip screen with a glass substrate of only 0.12 millimeter.

Last year, the Shenzhen-based company announced plans to invest 1.5 billion yuan to establish a micro LED research institute with Chongqing Liangshan Investment Co Ltd for R&D, production and sales of micro LEDs.

Compared with traditional liquid crystal display or LCD technology, micro LED displays, which use millions of tiny LEDs to create the image directly, offer much better image quality and are highly efficient.

Moreover, the technology promises to be brighter and more durable with a higher color range than organic light-emitting diodes or OLED. South Korean technology giant Samsung Electronics has just unveiled a 110-inch micro LED TV, with global distribution to start in the first quarter of 2021.

Other Chinese display panel makers, such as BOE Technology Group Co Ltd and China Star Optoelectronics Technology Co Ltd, a subsidiary of consumer electronics giant TCL Technology Group Corp, have marched into the micro LED panel industry.

The micro LED has become the “technical highland” for upstream and downstream enterprises both at home and abroad, said Liang Xinqing, secretary general of the China Optics and Optoelectronics Manufactures Association’s LCD branch, adding Chinese enterprises should strengthen collaborative innovation and improve the entire industrial chain, including materials, equipment and applications.

According to LEDinside, a division of technology research firm TrendForce, the global market value of micro LED products will reach $694 million by 2022 and $2.9 billion in 2025.

Roger Chu, research director at LEDinside, said micro LED itself has a lot of potential and could find lots of applications, including virtual reality devices, augmented reality projections, optical sensors and fingerprint recognition.

Chu also said the biggest challenge is to find ways for mass production in order to decrease manufacturing costs. Mass production requires efforts across different industries, including LED, semiconductor devices and the entire display supply chain.

“At present, LCD and OLED have accounted for a large market share in the display industry, but micro LED technology still has promising prospects and huge development potential,” said Lu Jin, deputy secretary general of the China Electronics Materials Industry Association.

Lu agreed that more efforts are needed to make breakthroughs in new materials, equipment and panel industry chains so as to reduce manufacturing costs of micro LED, realize mass production and speed up commercial applications.

Source: China Daily Global

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