Innolux, BOE and others to enter chip packaging tech

Some display panel manufacturers are trying to enter the chip packaging business to avoid the business impact of the reduced demand for consumer electronics products. According to Nikkei Asia, at present, a total of 4 panel manufacturers have been interested or are trying to transform their original panel production lines to meet the requirements of packaged chips, namely Innolux, AUO, BOE, and Huaxing Optoelectronics. Corning of the United States and Asahi Glass of Japan, are also investing resources in the development of glass carriers for advanced packaging technology.

BOE iPhone 12 OLED

Among them, AUO started to develop the panel-level packaging process in 2019 and is currently trying to convert one of its 3.5-generation panel production lines into panel-level chip packaging. Innolux is currently testing the panel-level packaging production process. Guangxing Optoelectronics has purchased the corresponding equipment to study the feasibility of the chip packaging business. BOE’s ambition in packaging is the largest among the four. As early as 2017, it invested in a chip packaging company, and then expanded its investment to semiconductor companies such as chip materials, equipment, and production, and also cooperated with Huawei to develop advanced chip packaging technology.

Chip manufacturers such as TSMC, Samsung Electronics, and Intel have been developing their own advanced chip packaging technologies. As for display panel manufacturers, they found the entrance to the packaging business after discovering that using display panel “glass” to package chips can greatly reduce costs compared to silicon wafers. Glass carriers are generally square and much larger than the largest 13-inch wafers on the market.

Nikkei Asia pointed out that it is actually a reasonable path for display panel manufacturers to enter chip packaging. Samsung Display and LG Display have also invested in this area. However, due to the high technical requirements of related businesses and the considerable market competition, it is unknown whether display panel manufacturers can successfully stand in this market.