TCL Investing Billions in Inkjet-Printed OLED TV. Here's Why that Matters.
Will the large Chinese company find the investment worth the money?
Back in June, TCL CSOT, a subsidiary of TCL, reached an agreement with JOLED, Inc., to “start joint-development of large-sized OLEDs for TV application.”
“While mass-producing medium-sized displays, JOLED will prove the adaptability and effectiveness of printing technology to large-sized displays through the joint-development with TCL CSOT,” the announcement said.
“By leveraging our proprietary RGB printed OLED technology, JOLED will continue to take on challenges with the aim of establishing a unique positioning within the OLED industry and fulfilling its mission of realizing a world full of excitement and emotions through its cutting-edge devices.”
TCL invested a reported $187 million in the JOLED ventures. Now, there’s word of another big investment by TCL in inkjet-printed OLED technology.
According to OLED Info, which cited reports from China, “TCL says its CSOT OLED inkjet printing project is going well, and the company expects to start mass production at its 8.5-Gen Guangzhou T8 (owned by Huaxing Optoelectronics) production line in 2024.” The report listed TCL’s investment in the project at 46 billion yuan ($6.8 billion.)
TCL has also made investments in QDOLED TV, seen as the next generation in premium TV. A TCL executive said this fall at the IFA conference that the company hoped to debut a QDOLED TV at the IFA event next fall. The JOLED collaboration would supply at least some of the panels for that venture, the executive said at the time.
TCL also debuted a new processor at the IFA event this year, called the AiPQ Engine Gen 2.
The company had debuted its 5- and 6-series QLED TVs in the fall, and earlier this month, it debuted the TCL Tab, a new Android tablet, following the arrival earlier this year of the TCL 10 Pro flagship smartphone, which arrived along with several other new phones, which drew mixed-to-positive reviews from the tech press.
And according to numbers released this fall by Trendforce, TCL shipped 7.33 million TV units worldwide in the third quarter, which represented a jump of 29 percent increase quarter over quarter and a 52.7 year over year. This was good for third worldwide, behind only Samsung and LG. It shows that TCL’s strategy of making QLED-based TVs and selling them at a lower price point than Samsung does has been successful.
“TCL has been aggressively expanding in the overseas markets in recent years by optimizing its costs through the vertical integration of its in-house panel and TV production lines,” the Trendforce report said of TCL.
Back in January, TCL officially changed its name from TCL Corp. to TCL Technology.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.