Chinese companies are opening state-of-the-art factories that can mass-produce OLED smartphone displays in an effort to break up Samsung Electronics' near monopoly in the field.

A total of 10 facilities are expected to be built in China over the next three years at a cost of about $4.5 billion apiece.

One is a cutting-edge factory opened by the startup Visionox in Hebei Province on May 17. The facility, which boasts a capacity of 60 million smartphone displays a year, cost 26.2 billion yuan ($3.95 billion) to build, including local government subsidies.



Following pilot production, mass output is expected to kick off by the end of next year. "With 6,000 engineers and [OLED] licenses, we can rapidly begin mass production," a confident Vice President Xiuqi Huang said.

Visionox, formed in 2001 from an OLED project team launched in 1996 at Tsinghua University, is the sole player in China with a track record of stable mass production of OLED displays. At its facility in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, it turns out screens for shipment to Chinese smartphone makers such as Oppo.

The new facility is located in Hebei's Gu'an, a special economic zone sponsored by Chinese President Xi Jinping. Previously nothing but farmland, real estate concern China Fortune Land Development transformed the area into an industrial "city" with brand-new condo buildings and a huge man-made lake in just a few years.

The real estate developer plays a key role in the Visionox group. Visionox Technology, an affiliate listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, is managed by Wang Wenxu, the head of China Fortune Land. By building Visionox's OLED display facility in Gu'an, Wang apparently seeks to turn the economic zone into a center of cutting-edge industry in China. The facility sits on a site big enough to fit 15 baseball stadiums, and the building itself is 1km wide.

Visionox says it has roughly 3,500 OLED-related patents. The factory has an exhibit area for showing off the company's latest technologies, such as an OLED smartphone that resembles the iPhone X and bendable panels for automotive use.

Visionox has built up design and production know-how by hiring many engineers away from Samsung and Taiwanese companies, industry sources say. This has enabled it to beat Beijing-based BOE Technology Group, the world's top shipper of LCD screens for TVs, in realizing mass production of OLED displays.

With Beijing's China Manufacturing 2025 initiative, regional governments have been pouring subsidies into factory construction projects, and display companies are boosting their OLED output around the country as they did with LCD panels.