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Foxconn Invests in Epileds as Part of Its Micro LED R&D Plan

Author: ComeFrom: Date:2018/4/20 9:17:27 Hits:153

While more companies join in the development of Micro LED, only a few are able to manufacture RGB Micro LED chips. Taiwanese electronics giant Foxconn is reported to acquire shares of Epileds, a Taiwan-based LED wafer and chip maker, from Catcher Technology, specialized in light metal technology and originally a shareholder of Epileds.

(Image: TechNews)

Epileds in 2018 has purchased a number of new MOCVD systems. It plans to buy another 12 units, expecting to have 30 for production by the end of 2018. The company will be working with Innolux and AOT on the development of Mini/Micro LED technology after Foxconn becomes one of its shareholders.

The financial performance of the LED chip maker has hit a new high over the past three years in 2017, whereas Catcher Technology, its major shareholder at that time, announced in March 2018 it has sold all 7,347 Epileds shares (7.32%). It was speculated that the transaction resulted from the company’s notion that it saw little connection between Epileds’ LED business and its own light metal one.

A recent rumor said that Foxconn acquired those shares from Catcher Technology and is going to become Epileds’ largest shareholder after the board director re-election in June.

Epileds will develop a strategic partnership with Innolux and AOT to form a Micro LED manufacturing alliance against the Micro LED supply chain supported by Epistar.

Epileds is one of the most competitive Taiwanese LED companies. In order to dodge the price wars in the blue LED space, it focuses its manufacturing capability on products such as IR LED and UV LED. These two applications take up to 70% of the company’s overall product shipment, while the other 30% is blue and green LEDs.

The company’s capability of manufacturing Micro LED chips is the key factor for Foxconn to acquiring the shares, according to an industry source. It requires red, green, and blue Micro LED chips to produce a direct display like Samsung’s Micro LED modular TV. Currently, however, only two companies—Osram and Epistar—are able to offer Micro LED chips of all three colors. China-based San’an Optoelectronics tries to catch up, while Epileds already built a solid foundation. Yet, Epileds has very limited capacity, which makes it less visible in comparison to Osram and Epistar.

Foxconn started its Micro LED project by investing in eLux, a spin-out from Sharp Laboratories of America that focus on mass transfer technology. It also poured investments in Innolux and AOT to harness their capability in developing applications such as displays and backlights.

However, as AOT started out producing LED packages for backlight applications, its equipment can only be used to develop a limited amount of blue LED. Once Epileds joins the Micro LED developing squad led by Foxconn, it, with the shareholder’s funding to boost its capacity, is able to complement the R&D capability of eLux, AOT, and Innolux.

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