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LG Display announces major investment in OLED displays

LG Display Co. has announced that it will invest more than $8.7 billion on building a new plant for expanding production of its OLED (organic light-emitting diode) screens.

These OLED screens are the latest type of LED display that manufacturers of smartphones, smartwatches, and other wearable devices, are adopting into their products designs as they significantly cut power use, therefore extending battery life as well as allowing designers to make thinner devices that also show brighter colours.

LG Display, said in August it planned to invest heavily to develop the advanced OLED screens, which offer a brighter, sharper picture than current LCD technology. The OLED panels, are also thinner, therefore critically from a design perspective save space and power because they do not need a backlight. Consequently, there has been slowing sales of LCDs and that has accelerated the drive to produce sufficient OLEDs for the smartphones and wearable devices market.

However, it is not just mobile devices that the factory will produce displays for, indeed LG also plans to make displays for larger TVs and automotive displays and is targeting production to start in the first half of 2018.

Significantly, the technology is suggested to be a possible replacement for the liquid-crystal displays used in Apple smartphones. Something that Apple is rumoured to be planning to adopt for iPhones from 2018.

“Today’s announcement implies that the potential timing of Apple’s adoption of OLED screens is set,” said Claire Kim, an analyst at Daishin Securities Co. in Seoul.

The investment intensifies the company’s rivalry with Samsung Display Co. Presently, Samsung supplies the ultra-thin screens to Apple’s key competitor Samsung Electronics Co. and to Chinese phone makers. However, Claire Kim believes that Apple’s demand for the panels will be strong enough to support more than one big OLED display manufacturer.

Image Credit: Shutterstock/Goran Bogicevic