LUMENS is going to change the structure of its business that was once focused on display backlight unit (BLU). In the short term, it plans to increase sales in the automotive electronic device industry. In the mid to long-term, it will target the micro light emitting diode (LED) market. It may be difficult if there are no changes in the sales structure of TV BLU.
On the 21st of November, according to insider of LUMENS, the company expects to make about $10 million (100 billion KRW) in sales from its automotive electronic device business next year. This figure is 27% based on sales (361.5 billion KRW) as of 2017. The company has already recorded an order backlog of 300 billion won over the next three years, officials said. Depending on whether additional orders are received, the amount may increase. "We expect annual sales of 80 to 130 billion Korean Won" said a representative from Lumens. The representative added, “In the meantime, we will focus on (automotive electronic device industry) short-term growth and diversify our overall revenue structure”.
Micro LEDs will grow into a mid to long-term growth in engines. It is currently preparing by dividing it into large and small sizes. The large-size brands MLD(Micro LED Display) has been transferred from the Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials (KIMM) to Roll to Roll (R2R) Enterprise. It can also be over 500 inches. The target market is the signage that is attached inside and outside of buildings. A small size panel is referred to as MLP (Micro LED Panel), it supports HD resolution and can be made directly from wafers. "We also received a feedback from Hyundai Motor that it is suitable for a car’s HUD (Head Up Display)" said a representative for LUMENS.
R2R transfer technology has one pilot line. It is also planning to establish mass-production lines on a full-scale next year. Although it is not on a large scale, it made its first sales this year after exporting MLD to India. It also announced a co-development of micro LED driver IC technology with fabless semiconductor company TLI. After being fully prepared, it is planning to enter the market as soon as it opens up.
As the market trend changes, Lumens shifts from BLU to focus on new growth engines. Not only LG Electronics but Samsung Electronics are rapidly converting BLU from LCD to self-illuminated display such as OLED. Because LUMENS has big customer of Samsung Electronics Video Display(VD) businesses unit, it can face a huge crisis if it cannot respond quickly to such changes in markets. Although sales of Lumens' BLU are decreasing little by little, its sales are still high at 85% in 2015, 79% in 2016, and 73% in 2017.
A Industry insider said "Samsung has recently been moving to push OLED panel at the group level."