[THE INVESTOR] Samsung Display has decided to replace one of its liquid-crystal display plants with organic light-emitting diode panel-making production lines in a move highlighting the firm's resolve to focus on the latter.
This is the sixth such LCD plant that Samsung has shut down or replaced with OLED operations.
Industry sources said on June 30 that the display-making unit of Samsung Electronics will stop the operation of its LCD production line in Asan, South Chungcheong Province, by the end of this year.
It will also sell off its LCD production equipment there to a third party that is widely rumored to be India-based Twinstar Display.
Samsung Electronics CEO and display chief Kwon Oh-hyun
The company used to operate eight LCD plants in Korea until 2008 but the number is now down to three.
The Asan “L7” plant, established in 2005, has a monthly capacity of 320,000 seventh-generation LCD panels that are mostly used for 40-inch TVs. But the demand has been slowing these days due to cheaper panels from Chinese rivals.
News reports said the plant is expected to be renovated for OLED production, possibly for Apple’s new iPhone next year. The company has not yet confirmed the iPhone deal, citing sensitivity of the issue.
In February, the company had already announced plans for the expansion of its A3 OLED plant in Asan but that does not seem to be enough to meet the growing demand in the near future.
Fueled by the planned OLED adoption by Apple’s iPhone, a growing number of new smartphone models are expected to have an OLED display screen in the coming years.
By Lee Ji-yoon (email@example.com)