Chief of Samsung’s LCD
By Kim Yoo-chul
CHEONAN, South Chungcheong Province _ Samsung Electronics, the world’s largest manufacturer of liquid crystal display panels, plans to build a new LCD line using advanced 11th-generation technology in a pre-emptive measure to meet rising demand for larger LCD television screens.
``We are engaging in internal talks to build the 11th generation LCD production line,’’ Kim Sang-soo, chief of Samsung’s LCD Technology Center, said in an interview with The Korea Times. Kim made the remarks during the ``Crystal Valley Conference & Exhibition 2007,’’ the biggest local display fair that opened here Tuesday.
``The 11th-generation technology will make it possible to make glass sheets measuring 3,200 millimeters by 3,600 millimeters and the advanced line will mostly produce TV display panels in the 70-inch segment,’’ Kim said.
When asked about the timing of mass-production and the expected size of investment for the line, the executive vice president declined to elaborate.
The release of the plan came a month after Samsung said it will upgrade to 10th-generation technology from the current eighth generation to cut larger LCD panels from large glass sheets.
``We don’t see any technological problems in producing panels measuring 60 inches and larger using the 10th-generation technology, but the timing of the investment will be decided depending on the market situation,’’ Kim said.
Further, he said Samsung will additionally ramp up producing panels measuring 50 inches using the eighth-generation possibly in the third quarter of 2008.
``The proportion of over 40-inch LCD panels for TVs will take up 60 percent, while those over 50 inches are expected to remain at 20 percent,’’ Kim said.
On the issue of partnership with Sony to invest in its second phase of eighth-generation lines, called the ``8-1 production line,’’ Kim said both companies were still discussing the issue and hopefully the final decision will be made by the end of the year.
In August, Samsung and Sony agreed in principle to build more eighth-generation lines to meet soaring demand for large flat-panel screen TVs. The global market for 50-inch and larger LCD panels is expected to rise to 5.9 million units in 2011 from 1.1 million units this year, according to data from DisplaySearch, a market research firm.