A man tries the iPhone 7s at an Apple store in Guangzhou, Guangdong province. [Photo provided to China Daily]
Apple Inc is in discussions with BOE Technology Group Co to supply next-generation displays for future iPhones, a key component that's being provided by a Samsung Electronics Co unit, sources familiar with the talks said.
Apple has been testing BOE's active-matrix organic light-emitting diode screens for months but hasn't decided if it will add the Chinese company to its roster of suppliers, one of the sources said.
BOE, one of the country's biggest screen makers, is spending close to 100 billion yuan ($14.5 billion) building two next-generation screen plants in the southwestern province of Sichuan in anticipation of future business.
Talks are at an early stage and it's unlikely to supply the next iPhone, but BOE is banking on outfitting the one in 2018 or later, the source said.
The stand of BOE Technology Group Co Ltd at an industry expo in Beijing.[Wu Changqing / For China Daily]
If BOE is selected, it will become the first known supplier of the next-generation screens to Apple outside of South Korea and Japan－a triumph for a Beijing-based company best known for computer and TV displays.
The US company is exploring alternatives to address a global shortage of OLED displays as it prepares to adopt the sharper, more power-efficient technology for its next iPhones.
Apple and BOE declined to comment.
The display is one of the most expensive components of a smartphone. OLED screens are more difficult to produce, making Apple beholden to suppliers still working to manufacture the displays in mass quantities.