Samsung’s two researchers and an external partner were arrested. South Korean prosecutors accused them of engaging in commercial espionage and leaking OLED technology to Chinese companies, causing millions of dollars in damage to Samsung, according to South Korean Media.
The identities of the two researchers have not been disclosed, only two men aged 46 and 37 who have held senior positions at Samsung Display. Another outsider is reported to be a director of a display manufacturer.
It is reported that this case involves Samsung ‘s inkjet printing technology used to produce OLED. South Korean prosecutors believe that the two researchers leaked the process specifications that Samsung Display tested in the second half of last year. Therefore, several senior officials of this unspecified Chinese company were also subsequently detained.
For some time, inkjet printing technology has been regarded as the future of OLED mass production for many reasons, but the first factor is cost. Analysts estimate that producing a contemporary 65-inch 4K TV with an inkjet printer is 20% cheaper than the current WOLED process. Of course, economies of scale are also important factors here, and the smaller the panel size, the lower the rate of return.
Samsung has invested more than 10 billion won (approximately US$8.5 million) in the past three years to develop printing specifications. In the face of increasingly fierce competition, mass production is the only way for Samsung Display to remain competitive in the OLED market. Samsung Display is expected to adopt inkjet printing technology in its OLED production business as early as October and is currently expected to become the first company to do so. In addition to China, Taiwan and Japan are also studying the same technology.