11 suspects, including the president of a South Korean Samsung supplier, are accused of stealing sensitive information from Samsung’s OLED division and leaking it to Chinese display makers, according to a report by Nikkei.
Has been leaked to BOE & others
The Suwon District Prosecutors’ Office has indicted 11 suspects from one of Samsung’s South Korean suppliers, Toptec, and an affiliate. The supplier is producing automated equipment for production of display panels.
They are accused of stealing information relating to OLED displays that curve around the edge of a smartphone, and for selling it for 15.5 billion Won to four companies, including China’s BOE, according to one anonymous source. BOE supplies display panels to Huawei and others. TCL’s CSOT is also believed to be one of the buyers.
- "We are shocked to see the announcement of the prosecutors as our rivals are aggressively chasing us in technology," Samsung Display said in a statement.
Samsung Display controls over 90% of the small-to-medium sized OLED display panel market, whereas LG.Display controls the OLED TV panel segment. Chinese display manufacturers have been trying to ramp up production of OLED displays for years.
There is big money in producing OLED displays. The two Korean display makers LG and Samsung have already invested billions of dollars in technology and production, and the market is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years. Besides picture quality, OLED technology offers a set of key advantages over LCD such as the ability to bend or wrap around objects.
As noted by OLED-Info.com, this is not the first case. Earlier this year, several Chinese and Korean researchers were accused of stealing OLED secrets from Samsung. A few months ago, LG.Display said that they feared “critical information” regarding OLED technology had been leaked and that China-based companies are suspected of eavesdropping inside the LG.Display headquarters.