LG Display’s production ramp-up of almost $7 billion to supply the market for OLED panels for smartphones through 2020 is yet another front on which the company has rival Samsung in its sights.
Three new LG new OLED production lines, two in South Korea and one in China, will produce glass and plastic panels suitable for next-generation smartphones and in-vehicle displays.
In a statement delivered along with the company’s second-quarter earnings, LG explained its investment. “With the smartphone display market continually shifting toward plastic OLED, the market size for smartphones is expected by the industry to be 120 million units in 2017, rapidly increasing to 370 million units in 2020. Additionally, the flexible OLED market will also show a compound annual growth rate of 63.2 percent, reaching 389 million units in 2020.”
While LG is the market leader in OLED TVs, Samsung holds the top slot in OLED production for smaller devices. LG expects this investment to help close that gap.
“We’re clearly seeing the possibilities the OLED business offers, not only in the global TV segment, but also in the smartphone and automotive markets,” said Sang-Beom Han, CEO and vice chairman of LG Display. “We plan to actively respond to customers’ demands by expanding OLED capacity in a timely manner and developing diversified flexible displays that are fit for various applications.”
Meantime, LG’s net profit returned to black in Q2 to 736.6 billion won (about $660 million), compared with a net loss of 83.9 billion in the year-ago period.
Operating profit also climbed sharply to 804.2 billion won from an operating income of 44.3 billion won in the year earlier period. Sales were up 13 percent.