According to the Taiwan Media Economic Daily, UMC received the order and then reported a good news, and cooperated with Samsung to develop the most advanced 22-nanometer high-voltage process, and will manufacture the latest OLED driver IC (OLED DDI) for Samsung, and start trial production verification in the first quarter of next year as soon as possible. Samsung is the largest supplier of OLED panels for Apple’s iPhone, and it ships with its own OLED driver IC. The new manufacturing process with UMC this time means that UMC will also take a major OEM order for key components of the next-generation iPhone.
UMC has cooperated with Samsung to develop the most advanced 22-nanometer high-voltage process, and will manufacture the latest OLED driver IC for Samsung. The trial production and verification will begin in the first quarter of next year as soon as possible. The two powerhouses will join hands to grab Apple’s orders.
UMC confirmed that the 22-nanometer high-voltage process is being developed in response to customer needs, but the customer’s name could not be disclosed. According to industry sources, Samsung’s OLED driver IC is leading the industry and its process introduction is also the most advanced. UMC has launched the latest 22-nanometer high-voltage process. Currently, only Samsung has the ability to introduce mass production. It will start small-batch trial production verification as soon as the first quarter of next year. Initial production capacity Thousands of pieces, and then gradually enlarged to tens of thousands of pieces.
UMC’s 28-nanometer high-voltage process has a unique position in the industry. The relevant production capacity is currently fully loaded, and it is the target of competition for small-sized panel driver IC manufacturers such as mobile phones. Chips that are smaller, more efficient, and consume less power. Samsung took the lead in OLED driver ICs, and introduced 22-nanometer high-pressure process production, which also brought huge pressure to Taiwanese factories such as Novatek and Duntech.
UMC’s 28-nanometer high-voltage process is the first in the foundry industry to develop and mass-produce OLED driver ICs. Compared with the original 28-nanometer high-k/metal gate process, the 22-nanometer process has the advantage of reducing the die size by 10%. The area, better power-efficiency ratio, and enhanced RF performance are now being advanced to the 22-nanometer high-voltage process, from the original 1.8V/3.3V/5V/8V that can be supported to a maximum of 10V/18V.
Samsung used to have business dealings with UMC in the foundry of panel driver ICs and CMOS image sensor (CIS) related chips. The expansion of the cooperation between the two parties is of great significance. In particular, Samsung is the world’s largest supplier of OLED panels. Its key driver ICs all use its own products to supply iPhones, its own mobile phones, and non-Apple brand customers. Now Samsung has joined hands with UMC to cut into the industry’s most advanced 22-nanometer high-voltage process, which means UMC is in the high-voltage process. The leading position is highly affirmed.
It is worth noting that Samsung is the largest supplier of OLED panels for Apple’s iPhone, and it ships with its own OLED driver IC. The new manufacturing process with UMC this time means that UMC will also win a major OEM order for key components of the new-generation iPhone. It is expected that Samsung’s OLED driver IC will also be shipped with its own mobile phones and other non-Apple brand mobile phones. The business opportunities will be further amplified and will also bring more benefits to UMC.
The supply chain pointed out that in recent years, OLED panels have become the standard for mainstream mid-to-high-end smartphones, pushing up the penetration rate of OLED mobile phone panels. According to data from research institutes, the global penetration rate of OLED mobile phone panels will exceed 45% in 2023, which will boost the demand for related driver ICs.
Especially when the mobile phone screen becomes larger and the resolution is higher, the driver IC requirements are also higher, and more compression processing technology needs to be added, which also increases the entry barrier for OLED driver ICs. From the perspective of the global OLED driver IC market share, Samsung will lead with 50.4% in 2020, followed by Magnachip, Silicinworks, and Anapass, with market share of 33.2%, 2.7%, and 2.4% respectively.