Rouyu Technology’s “flexible +” technology strategy can be understood as “flexible electronic technology is another possibility to create unlimited interaction.” With the flexible electronic technology from the source innovation-ultra-low temperature non-silicon manufacturing integration technology (ULT-NSSP) as the core, Rouyu independently researches and develops fully flexible displays, fully flexible sensors, flexible integrated circuits, etc., and deploys six major industries to Realize the interaction between people and machines (equipment) anywhere.
Compared with the previous “high profile”, the news that Shenzhen Rouyu Technology Co., Ltd. (referred to as “rouyu technology” or “rouyu”) may land on the Sci-tech Innovation Board is spreading like wildfire. On December 7, 2020, the media reported that CITIC Securities’ IPO guidance on Rouyu Technology had been completed on November 25, and it is expected to formally submit the sci-tech innovation board prospectus in mid-December. But no official confirmation from Rouyu.
Established in 2012, Rouyu Technology is a service provider that takes flexible electronic technology as its core and provides comprehensive solutions for enterprises and consumers through core products such as fully flexible displays and fully flexible sensors. At present, the “flexible+” solution proposed by Royole Technology has covered the six major industries of smart mobile terminals, smart transportation, entertainment media, sports fashion, smart home, and office education.
In the report on Liu Zihong, the founder, chairman and CEO of Rouyu Technology, a concept he often communicates with externally is that flexible electronic technology is a new technology for human-computer interaction. This can be seen as the colloquial version of Royole’s technological strategy “flexible electronic technology is another possibility for creating unlimited interaction.” In short, this strategy is based on Royole’s original innovation technology—ultra-low temperature non-silicon manufacturing integration technology (ULT-NSSP), and it focuses on six major industries such as fully flexible display screens, fully flexible sensors, and flexible integrated circuit applications. , The purpose is to realize the “interaction” between humans and machines (equipment) anytime and anywhere.
So, what do you think of Rouyu Technology? Since its establishment, Rouyu Technology has been subject to controversy and misunderstandings. The optimistic believe that this is a company with exclusive original technology, especially in the field of OLED, to contribute to China’s efforts to break the monopoly of Japan and South Korea; the declining people not only question its production capacity, yield rate, and technical authenticity, but also to the founders And its company public diss. There are even many misunderstandings. For example, many people still don’t understand or see what Rouyu does. Some people think that Rouyu is a mobile phone, and some people think that Rouyu is a supplier of flexible screen panels. Some people think that this is a company that makes consumer electronic products, and so on. In the eight years since its establishment, Royole Technology has been staggering, but judging from the several first report cards it has handed over, it at least maintains its inherent rhythm and at the same time is developing steadily:
In 2014, released the world’s thinnest color flexible display with a thickness of only 0.01mm;
In 2018, the world’s first self-developed mass production line of fully flexible displays was successfully lighted up and put into production in Shenzhen;
On October 31, 2018, the 2018 Global New Product Launch Conference was held, and the world’s first consumer-grade folding screen mobile phone, FlexPai, was officially launched, with a starting price of 8,999 yuan.
However, if we proceed from the level of its technological strategy, it may be an angle from which the outside world can approach Rouyu. “Interaction theory” is just such a window.
WHO are you
“First of all, we must re-understand what Rouyu does. We define ourselves as the pioneer of the flexible electronics industry. This is not only a matter of a screen, but also involves a fully flexible display, a fully flexible sensor, etc. Derivative things.” Liu Xiyuan, general manager of Royole Technology’s global brand marketing center, said Royole is a company that provides various human-computer interaction solutions based on flexible electronic technology.
From the perspective of technology strategy, the first key word that needs to be clarified when approaching Rouyu is “interaction”. In the external remarks of Rouyu technology executives such as Liu Zihong and Liu Xiyuan, this is the most important foothold for introducing “who is Rouyu”. To put it simply, Rouyu’s “interaction” is more inclined to the control relationship between humans and machines, especially emphasizing the control of humans over machines. In the past technological development, the limitations of technology have caused humans to adapt to machines more. For example, the first computer was a behemoth, covering an area of 170m 2 , and people need to do a lot of work and study to adapt to its operation. . However, the global Internet technology, industrial manufacturing technology, etc. have undergone earth-shaking changes, and machines can become more accessible and convenient according to human needs.
The concept of “interaction” extended by Royole Technology is based on the current concept of “everything can be interconnected, and human beings are the subject of interaction”. What Royole Technology hopes to achieve is to be able to implant fully flexible screens or fully flexible sensors in a variety of machines, equipment, and even clothing, shoes, hats, etc. based on flexible electronic technology, breaking the limitations of physical space and realizing human interaction. More interactions between everything. That is what Rouyu said, “All surfaces are screens, and all touches are interactions.”
In “Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man” (Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man), Marshall McLuhan (Marshall McLuhan) put forward a point: “The medium is the extension of the person”, and he spends a lot of space in the book Examples include clothing, clocks, photos, telephones, advertisements, television, cars, automation, etc. as a medium, which extends people’s hearing, vision, perception, and so on. The most important thing is that they change the relationship between people and society. Work relationships, interpersonal relationships, and even the entire social relationship.
Royole’s “Interaction Theory” is very close to McLuhan’s concept of interaction between media and humans. In fact, Royole Technology has been advancing this work steadily. Judging from the current six major industries involved in Rouyu Technology and the released product lines, folding screen mobile phones, smart writing notebooks, head-mounted mobile theaters, flexible screen fashion clothes and hats, etc., are extremely easy to occur with humans in daily life. Interactive products. Among them, mobile phones are the most important interaction medium between people and things in modern society. Therefore, it is also one of the most representative applications of Royole Technology. Due to space limitations, this article will mainly explain the “innovative value” of Royole Technology and the choice of technology strategy from the mobile phone business field, and introduce its efforts to solve the pain points of users and the industry in terms of technical layout.
Solve the pain points of folding screen phones
Sorting out Rouyu’s technology strategy, its positioning is not limited to full flexible screens, but “hope to let people better perceive the world through flexible electronic technology.” Therefore, they proposed the “flexibility +” technology empowerment strategy.
In 2015, Royole Technology released the world’s first foldable ultra-high-definition VR smart mobile cinema Royole-X. Judging from the date of patent application, the relevant patents started from the beginning of the company’s establishment. Since 2016, Rouyu has successively cooperated with B-end customers such as China Mobile, iQiyi, Li Ning, Airbus, Louis Vuitton, Toyota Motor, Gree Electric, Luzhou Laojiao, etc. In summary, Royole Technology’s product layout is first to expand along the C-end consumer products, changing existing consumer products through fully flexible screens, and providing consumers with new service experiences. After opening the market by this, B-side customers are successively attracted, and their needs are different, whether it is advertising display, or innovative exploration, or personalized display, and the core of all of this is inseparable from flexible electronic technology.
Rouyu’s patent layout is consistent with its product strategy. Liu Xiyuan revealed to the “Manager” that the company currently applies for or reserves more than 3,000 core technology intellectual property rights (including patents and know-hows), covering materials, processes, devices, circuits, software, system design and other aspects. According to data from third-party credit reporting agencies, as of December 4, 2020, Rouyu Technology has a total of 1,378 patent information, of which 319 are utility models and 152 are authorized for inventions. From this, you can get a glimpse of the layout of Royole Technology based on flexible electronic technology.
Taking folding screen mobile phones as an example, data from the institution CINNO Research shows that the global demand for flexible OLEDs for folding screen smartphones in 2019 is about 500,000. It is estimated that by 2024, the global demand for flexible OLEDs for folding screen smartphones will reach 38 million, with a compound annual growth rate of approximately 141%. However, the common pain points in the industry include: First, the high cost of construction, leading to the high ex-factory price of a single machine in the range of 10,000 to 20,000; Second, there are problems such as creases, film fractures, and display failures after leaving the factory. Discouraged by folding screen phones.
Why does Rouyu Technology have the confidence to “Say NO”? On September 22, 2020, Rouyu Technology released a new generation of 5G folding screen mobile phone FlexPai 2. Based on this, Liu Xiyuan made a specific analysis of the above-mentioned problems, and three of them are listed below:
Equipped with a self-developed fully flexible screen. FlexPai 2 is equipped with the third-generation Cicada Wing fully flexible screen independently developed by Rouyu Technology. This is one of the biggest differences from its first mobile phone, and also the biggest difference from the hard-screen mobile phones and curved-screen mobile phones on the market.
Why is it that clarifying the difference is the core of understanding the full flexible screen?
According to industry insiders, the current display screens are mainly divided into flat rigid screens (mainly configured in traditional smart phones, TVs, etc.), fixed curved display screens (industry term “curved display”), and fully flexible screens (industry term “flexible display”). Among them, the latter two are collectively referred to as “flexible display” in the industry.
“The fixed curved screen is formed at one time during the production process to form a bent shape, which means that it cannot be repeatedly bent after leaving the factory.” Liu Xiyuan said, “The’full flexible screen we talked about is like a piece of paper. It can be bent continuously in your hands at least hundreds of thousands of times. At present, only Samsung and Rouyu have the core technology route of fully flexible screens and realize mass production.”
The fully flexible screen produced based on Rouyu’s ULT-NSSP technical route overcomes the three major pain points of creases, film breakage, and display failure in the field of flexible screens. Its “flexible” performance advantage can be seen from the authoritative test of the Chinese Academy of Metrology. According to a report issued by the research institute, with a speed of 60 times per minute, a screen opening and closing angle of 0-180 degrees, an outer folding radius of R5, and a tensile load of 1 kg as the test conditions, the test conditions are A 7.8-inch third-generation Cicada Wing fully flexible screen was tested for screen bending. The final test result is: the three test screens are not damaged after bending 1.8 million times, the screen film has no delamination, no fracture, and no visible aging, and the color and grayscale are normal after lighting.
Original fully closed linear shaft. “FlexPai 2 uses Roy’s original fully closed linear shaft, which contains up to 200 precision parts and precision transmission parts, involving 211 technical patents.” Liu Xiyuan introduced, “You can bend any one in the 180-degree bending process. Click and hover, users can adjust according to their own needs, this is our original technology.”
Among these hundreds of precision devices, the part processing technology reaches ±0.01mm. In order to prevent the mobile phone from falling during use and causing the parts to be scattered or deformed to break through the screen, the R&D staff of Rouyu Technology designed a “self-locking function.” When the phone falls on the ground, as long as the hinge part touches the ground and feels the vibration, it will trigger the self-locking function to lock the parts, effectively protecting the screen.
The cost of the independent technical route is controllable. Compared with the folding screen phones of Samsung and other brands on the market, Rouyu FlexPai 2 is the only 5G folding screen phone with a price of less than 10,000 yuan. Its first screen replacement price is 999 yuan, and the minimum screen replacement cost can be reduced to 4 of its peers. -7 times. The reason for the relatively low price is that Royole Technology’s fully flexible screens and flexible sensors are developed and produced based on its own core technology, which can improve the yield and productivity of the production line through its own technology upgrades, and achieve the optimal solution for costs. .
Betting on a flexible electronic track
Ultra-low temperature non-silicon manufacturing integration technology (ULT-NSSP) is Royole Technology’s independent core technology, which is also the most controversial technology route that Royole Technology is most optimistic about.
In the flexible display industry, the global mainstream technology routes, intellectual property rights and core equipment that can achieve large-scale commercialization are mainly concentrated in Japan, South Korea, Europe and the United States.
The technology route commonly adopted by the OLED industry is low-temperature polysilicon technology (LTPS). Representative companies include South Korea’s Samsung and domestic flexible screen leader BOE, as well as Shenzhen Tianma, Visionox, etc., while Rouyu has created a completely independent technology. Route-ULT-NSSP. Based on this technology, Rouyu has independently mastered the complete set of technologies in all core links from upstream technology to capacity design to production and processing, and truly realizes independent control. The low-temperature polysilicon LTPS technology route uses polysilicon materials, and the process production temperature of its key processes often needs to be controlled above 400 degrees; Rouyu Technology’s technical route uses non-silicon materials, which are 200-300 degrees lower than the LTPS process temperature. The range of materials used is much wider than the former. Liu Xiyuan mentioned that the number of exposure and development layers required in the Royole technology process has been greatly reduced, and complicated processes such as high-temperature dehydrogenation, ion implantation, and laser crystallization have been removed, which means that production is greatly optimized compared to LTPS. The technology shortens the production cycle while also increasing the yield of production, and greatly reducing the production cost.
At present, Rouyu Technology’s first-phase production capacity in Shenzhen International Flexible Display Base is 2.8 million 7.8-inch fully flexible screens per year. As the second-phase production line is put into mass production, the production capacity of Rouyu’s full-flexible screen mass production line will reach 8.8 million pieces per year.
From an objective point of view, in terms of the production capacity of fully flexible screen panels, Rouyu Technology does not currently have an advantage compared with domestic BOE, Shenzhen Tianma, and Visionox. On the one hand, flexible screen production lines are expensive. For example, BOE’s 48K/month 6-generation line has a total investment of 46.5 billion yuan. On the other hand, as a new product in the display industry, full-flexible screens are going from the B-end to the C-end, and the entire market needs time to develop.
From 0 to 1, from 1 to N or even N+, whether it is Royole Technology or the entire flexible electronics industry, there is still a long way to go. Although it has been nearly 30 years since the birth of flexible display technology on a global scale, from the perspective of market applications, taking the folding screen mobile phone as an example, it has only been more than two years for it to truly enter the market. Rouyu Technology, which is not yet ten years old, still has a lot of room for growth to meet the trillion-level market in the future. It and us both need patience.