3D cover glass manufacturer JNTC will begin production of cover glass for wearable in the first half of 2021, TheElec has learned.
It will be the company’s first mass production of cover glass for wearable devices.
JNTC’s third factory in Vietnam for the glasses is expected to be completed in April, with production beginning between May and June. After the factory is complete, the company must get approval from its customer.
Samsung Electronics is likely its first customer for the glasses.
JNTC has earlier said it expected the third factory to begin operation within the first quarter but this is now delayed by around a month. The recent surge in COVID—19 cases in Vietnam is likely the cause.
The third factory will first produce cover glass for smartwatches. It had supplied samples to its customer back in November last year. It is planning to later produce cover glass for automobile displays and ultra-thin glasses there as well. The first and second factories in the country focused on manufacturing cover glass for smartphones.
The third factory takes up an area of 73,000 square-meter and is larger than the first and second factories combined. The first factory and second factories has a monthly production capacity of 3 million and 2 million units, respectively. Its factory in Hwaseong, South Korea has a capacity of a million units a month. The third factory is expected to have a greater production capacity going forward.
JNTC is hoping that its wearable business accounts for 15 to 20% of its sales this year, people familiar with the matter said. Currently, cover glass for handsets account for 60 to 70% of its sales while connectors account for 20%.
The company will likely begin production of ultra-thin glasses in the fourth quarter at the earliest. It is developing the technology with BOE, for applications to foldable and rollable products. There are many obstacles to overcome to manufacture ultra-thin glass, such as procuring the needed mother glass.
JNTC is expecting level sales this year to that of 2020. Wearable sales will go up but it expects lower volume for glasses it supplied to Huawei through BOE.
The company and BOE remains close partners __ they formed a joint venture called BNJ in 2019.
In 2019, the company posted 386.2 billion won in sales and 95.5 billion won in operating income. South Korean analysts expect the firm to have posted 363 billion won in sales and 86 billion won in operating income last year.