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Merck to bulk up OLED capacity with investment in Gyeonggi, Pyeongtaek

From left: Lee Yong-chul, vice governor for administrative affairs of Gyeonggi Province, Kim Woo-kyu, managing director of Merck Korea, and Lee Jong-ho, vice mayor of Pyeongtaek City pose at an event marking Merck‘s new investment plan. (Merck)
From left: Lee Yong-chul, vice governor for administrative affairs of Gyeonggi Province, Kim Woo-kyu, managing director of Merck Korea, and Lee Jong-ho, vice mayor of Pyeongtaek City pose at an event marking Merck‘s new investment plan. (Merck)
Merck will invest 20 million euros ($23.6 million) in and around Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, to increase its organic light-emitting diode manufacturing capabilities, the company said Wednesday.

The 20 million euros will be used to establish a modular production system for an additional OLED sublimation purification facility, and expand its OLED manufacturing facility in the neighboring county of Poseung-eup.

OLED sublimation purification is a key step that ensures top-level OLED quality and lifespan. An increase in such production capacity will prepare Merck for a rise in demand in the OLED market. Bigger manufacturing capacity will reinforce Merck’s role as a supplier of high purity OLED materials to Asia‘s panel makers, Merck forecasts.

“We are proud to announce a new investment of 20 million euros to produce the most advanced OLED materials here at Pyeongtaek to ensure fast delivery to our Korean customers,” said Kai Beckmann, member of the executive board of Merck and CEO of Performance Materials.

“We are well aware that OLED materials have been defined as key materials by the Korean government. Likewise, Merck wants to increase Korea’s competitiveness in the display industry. We see our investment as a contribution to creating an agile supply chain for our customers in Korea,” Beckmann said.

Gyeonggi Province is an ideal location for Merck’s investment, said Kim Woo-kyu, managing director of Merck Korea, because of its proximity to Merck‘s major customers.

Gyeonggi is well-positioned for innovative production as well as having excellent human resources, small and medium-sized enterprises and universities, Kim said.

Merck has been growing its high purity OLED manufacturing prowess in Asia in response to new form factors such as foldable and rollable displays.

The company has a history of OLED research of over three decades, becoming one of the pioneers of OLED material technologies.

Headquartered in Darmstadt, Germany, Merck opened an OLED application center in Pyeongtaek, Korea, in 2015. Merck Korea now has 11 operation sites and some 1,200 employees and operates businesses in functional materials, health care and life sciences.

The functional materials business encompasses advance materials for information technology products such as displays and semiconductors. It also includes cosmetics and paints for automobiles.

Its health care business involves pharmaceuticals and medical devices for treatments of cancer, multiple sclerosis and infertility.

The life sciences business deals in an extensive portfolio of over 300,000 products used for protein research, cell biology, antibodies, water purification and microbiome tests.

Merck is called Merck all around the world, except for in the US and Canada, where it operates under the names EMD Serono, MiliporeSigma and EMD Performance Materials.

By Lim Jeong-yeo (kaylalim@heraldcorp.com)

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