Royole Corp, a manufacturer of flexible displays and smart devices, unveiled a large-screen foldable device on Wednesday, which can be bent and rolled to function both as a smartphone and tablet.
The product, known as the FlexPai, is equipped with the Shenzhen-based company’s latest flexible display technology. The 7.8-inch high-resolution screen is 7.6 millimeters thick and can be bent over 200,000 times.
Bill Liu, founder of Royole, said at a product launch in Beijing that the FlexPai, priced from 8,999 yuan ($1,290), is designed so consumers need not buy smartphones and tablets at the same time.
Liu said he hopes the company’s ultra-thin, transparent and flexible electronics, including displays and sensors, will help reshape the future of smart home, automotive, consumer electronics and wearable products.
To achieve that objective, Royole also said on Wednesday that it will invest 200 million yuan to encourage startups to create more content including games for the company’s new device.
Royole attracted global attention in 2014 when it released the world’s thinnest full-color AMOLED flexible display screen, which can be bent or rolled.
The company started mass production of its flexible displays in June after it spent two years and invested 11 billion yuan in building an advanced plant in Shenzhen, Guangdong province.
The factory is designed to turn out 50 million flexible display units at full capacity each year. The production capacity enables the commercial application of such screens on the FlexPai, which can be ordered from Thursday.
The six-year-old company has completed rounds of financing from investors including IDG Capital Partners, and is valued at about $5 billion.
Royole is among a growing number of Chinese companies that are investing heavily in flexible screen technology in a bid to overcome the South Korean monopoly in the field.
BOE Technology Group Co Ltd, a Beijing-based supplier of display products and solutions, is also working in the field. Its display panels have already been delivered to more than 10 smartphone manufacturers including Huawei Technologies Co Ltd.
Geng Yi, deputy secretary-general of the China OLED Industry Alliance, said core screen technology used to be dominated by Japanese and South Korean companies. But as domestic brands endeavored to boost their research and development capabilities, they started catching up and expanded their production capacity.
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