The U.S. and its allies may not impose export controls on China’s OLED industry, despite ongoing tensions in the semiconductor sector, according to industry insiders and experts. China currently relies heavily on Taiwan-made customized chips and U.S. technologies, leaving it vulnerable to punitive economic measures. In response, the U.S. has launched initiatives like the CHIPS Act, IPEF, and Chip 4 alliance to strengthen its position in the global semiconductor market.
However, China’s OLED production may not face similar restrictions, given the nation’s already stable display ecosystem. China is unlikely to struggle with OLED production even without U.S. and allied input. While U.S.-based Universal Display dominates the market for OLED dopant materials, and Japan’s Canon and Nikon lead in manufacturing equipment, China has the capacity to develop these technologies independently.
Moreover, the military applications of OLED technology are limited, making it a less urgent target for export controls. The Korea Times has reported, Zack Cooper, a former White House National Security Council official and senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, saying OLED technology can be replaced with legacy alternatives and is therefore less likely to be restricted by the United States. Currently, top Washington policymakers have not requested that their allies expand existing semiconductor export controls to OLED equipment. While China may face challenges in the semiconductor industry, its OLED production appears to be on more stable ground.