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LG Display bets big on OLED to take on Samsung

[THE INVESTOR] South Korea’s display manufacturer LG Display announced on July 27 that it would invest around 2 trillion won (US$1.80 billion) to build manufacturing facilities for plastic organic light-emitting diode displays, a type of flexible display mostly used for mobile devices like smartphones.

The company will add the new facilities with the monthly production capacity of 15,000 sheets of the sixth-generation plastic OLED -- measured 1,500 millimeters by 1,859 millimeters -- at the firm’s P9 plant in Paju, Gyeonggi Province.

LG Display's flexible OLED
LG Display's flexible OLED

The board of directors approved the investment plan on the day.

The construction of the new OLED lines, scheduled to start from the third quarter this year, will be finished by the third quarter of 2018.

LG Display is currently running production lines for large-sized OLED displays and liquid-crystal display at the P9.

The amount of investment, precisely 1.99 trillion won, accounts for 15.7 percent of the firm’s own equity.

POLED, also known as flexible OLED, uses polyimide (PI) films inside, which are flexible and light, instead of glass panels. The POELD is an ideal display for rollable or foldable devices.

LG Display’s new investment plan will likely pose a challenge to compatriot rival Samsung Display, the largest player in the smartphone OLED market with a whopping 97 percent market share.

The flexible OELD is used in high-end smartphones such as Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy S7 Edge.

The latest move of LG Display is also aimed at winning a supply bid for the firm’s long-time partner Apple, which is anticipated to roll out iPhone smartphones fitted with OLED displays possibly from next year.

Samsung Display has reportedly been picked as an official supplier of OLED displays for next iPhones.

The global annual shipment of flexible OLED displays is expected to increase from 59 million in 2016 to 416 million in 2020, according to market research firm IHS.

Han Sang-beom, the chief executive of LG Display, told reporters that “the company will jump on the POLED bandwagon as the display is a ‘mega trend’ in the mobile device sector.”

By Kim Young-won (