LG Display will invest South Korean won 1.99tn ($1.75bn, £1.33bn) for the production of flexible organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays for use in mobile devices, the company has announced. The amount includes an investment in a new production line that is scheduled to start mass production in the second half of 2018 and will produce 15,000 input sheets a month.
"A paradigm shift to OLED represents both a challenge and an opportunity for the display industry, said Sang-Beom Han, chief executive officer and vice chairman of LG Display adding, "LG Display is determined to become the leader in the fast-growing OLED market through timely investments to maximize efficiency."
The announcement comes amid talks about Samsung ending the production of its Transparent OLED (TOLED) display panel, which is the base panel used in all TOLED products. According to Techradar, the reason behind the company's move is the global quantity not being high enough for Samsung to justify the investment TOLED.
In November last year the company announced it planned to invest around won 1.8tn to produce OLED displays including large-size displays as well as flexible OLED variants. It claimed to be the first to introduce the large-size OLED TVs the trend that started with its first 55in OLED display in January 2013. The company also introduced plastic substrate-based 6in flexible OLED displays for smartphones in October 2013 and the 1.3in circular flexible OLED display a year later.
Well-known market research firm IHS DisplaySearch states the flexible OLED market is expected to grow rapidly with a significant boost in shipments from 59 million in 2016 to 416 million by 2020.
LG's major rival Samsung Display dominates the market for small-size OLED panels, which are expected to replace liquid crystal displays (LCD) for smatphone and other mobile devices, suggests a Financial Times report.
LG's plan to invest in small OLED screens came after it recorded a second-quarter loss, affected by the falling LCD prices in a stiff competition with Chinese rivals. LG Display posted a loss of won 84bn in the April-June period as opposed to a won 363bn profit it earned a year earlier.
So far LG has focused on large OLED panels for use in television, while Samsung Display has been involved in production of small OLED panels used in its Galaxy lineup. Among other notable tech firms Apple is likely to adopt OLED screens for its upcoming iPhones, instead of LCDs used in its current iPhone series.