The cost of making devices with foldable displays may drop considerably this year. Research firm DSCC has calculated that the price of a flexible display may drop from $200 to as low as $70 by the end of 2019.
The blue line represents the cost of Chinese component manufacturers such as BOE and Tianma. The orange line are the costs of Korean fabs such Samsung and LG. Samsung does not currently sell its displays to other companies, but uses the displays for its own Galaxy Infinity series and for its upcoming foldable phone.
The reason for the price drops of Chinese manufacturers is increased yields. Once the front-end process has been completed, flexible displays are subjected to a variety of electrical tests to determine if they function properly. The proportion of devices found to perform properly is referred to as the yield. Manufacturers are typically secretive about their yields, but they can be as low as 30%.
BOE, the largest Chinese fab, has managed to dramatically increase its yields . The’re expected to reach, according to DSCC, almost 60% by the end of this year. Better yields, means more panels will be rolling of the assembly line. BOE is expected to produce up to 1 million flexible panels each month by the end of 2019. The technology research firm Technavio predicts that the global market for flexible displays will increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 47 percent between now and 2022.