Posted : 2014-06-26 16:19
Updated : 2014-06-26 19:28

LG Display bets high on OLED displays

CEO bullish about business outlook

Han Sang-beom
LG Display CEO

By Kim Yoo-chul

PAJU, Gyeonggi Province ― LG Display CEO Han Sang-beom said the world's No. 1 display maker will increase production of OLED TVs.

The move contrasts with its rival Samsung Display which is cautious about the production of OLED TV panels due to technological and price barriers.

But the LG CEO is upbeat about the outlook for the OLED TV market.

"We are ready to mass-produce OLED TV panels from our latest manufacturing line ― M2 ― in Paju," Han told reporters, Thursday.

LG plans to operate the M2 line within the third quarter of this year.

The line will be responsible for mass-producing OLED panels, which are fitted with 55-, 65- and 77-inch TV sizes.

OLED, which stands for organic light-emitting diode, combines some of the best specifications of plasma and LED sets, displaying high-contrast ratio levels.

Participants during this year's SID exhibition check out curved OLED displays introduced by LG Display in this file photo. / Courtesy of LG Display

The result is an ultra-thin TV. LG Display seeks to become a market leader by partnering with leading Chinese TV makers to boost the highly-promising market.

"LG Display is in talks with Skyworth, Konka and Changhong to supply our advanced OLED TV panels in China as we believe China has become a 'trendsetter' in terms of technologies," he said.

Han noted that issues related to high prices will eventually be resolved by high technology and high productivity, which will lower costs. He said LG's plan to expand OLED TV production will be met with stronger demand in the market.

"We've improved the manufacturing process. OLED TVs will go into the mainstream much faster than CRT and LCD TVs did previously. Technologies will evolve and we can't afford to lose such initiatives," said the executive.

DisplaySearch, a market research firm, expects the demand for OLED TVs will rise to 40 million sets by 2020 from 540,000 throughout this year.

An installment of dashboard using LG Display's high-quality panels customized for automotive solutions is seen in this file photo. LG identified automotive displays as one of its next growth engines.

New business territories

OLED TV business isn't the only target for which LG is aiming. It has put greater focus on wearable devices and automotive solutions to expand its business territories for sustainability.

The CEO said it's been in talks with "many top-tier set-makers" to supply its plastic-based OLED displays to be used in various wearable and smart devices, though Han declined to name its existing or future display clients.

LG is the industry's first to begin producing 6-inch plastic-based OLED displays, last year. Its biggest stakeholder LG Electronics is heavily relying on LG Display to procure panels for wearable gadgets.

"We are mulling a possibility to make an additional investment on small-sized plastic-based OLED panels within the latter half of this year. LG is being approached by major technology firms, which have interests in enhancing their businesses for wearable devices," said the CEO.

The LG Group's display-making unit also plans to collaborate with other group technology affiliates such as LG Innotek and LG Chem to find more business chances in in-vehicle infotainment systems, which LG Group identified as one of the next cash-generators.

LG Electronics, LG Innotek and LG Display are utilizing client channels already secured by LG Chem, the world's top supplier in electric car batteries, to put more focus on high-end automotive solutions such as dashboards.

LG Chem supplies its car batteries to more than 20 global carmakers.

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