LG Display said on Monday it would focus investment on organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays, betting on the next-generation technology to steer it clear of price wars and ahead of the competition. The company plans to collaborate with the South Korean government to boost the market for organic light-emitting diode displays, which the company has identified as its next growth engine. The world's biggest display supplier said it will invest up to 10 trillion won on flexible OLEDs and those with larger sizes to be used in televisions.
"South Korea's decades-long leadership in displays is being challenged by the rapid rise of Chinese companies. LCD was the main driver in the industry in the past. However, industry growth is flattening. Threats from China are urging the country to find something new. I believe OLEDs are the right solution to help the country lead its rivals in the battle for next-generation displays," LG Display CEO Han Sang-beom said.
Mentioning moves by the Japanese government to realign its display business capitalizing on OLEDs, the executive said the country feels a greater sense of urgency than ever before.
As part of the new corporate strategy, the company plans to expand its OLED lineup, to invest more in business-to-business solutions such as digital signage, as well as premium LCDs.
"The shift will generate a huge economic ripple effect, including creating 130,000 jobs, sparking 35.5 trillion won worth of production and contributing to the development of front- and back-end industries," said the statement.
Against LCDs, OLEDs are expandable as the panels can be twisted and completely bent. Therefore, the usage of OLED panels is widening to smartwatches, TVs, automotive displays and some others.
LG's rival Samsung Display was still reluctant to jump into the large-sized OLED market as that segment is still in its infancy and has higher costs compared to LCDs. For example, an OLED TV costs three times more than an LCD TV with the same display size.
But OLEDs have advantages in terms of picture quality as they don't need to have backlights.
To create "OLED Value Chain," the LG Group's display unit plans to team up with local equipment and materials suppliers.
"The government thanked LG's commitment to invest in next-generation businesses such as OLEDs. The Korean government will be active in providing more supportive measures to help the country maintain continued leadership in the global display industry even in OLEDs," Yoon said.
A 55-inch OLED ultra-high definition curved TV made by LG Electronics was on sale for $4,999 on Amazon.com Inc's U.S. shopping site, marked down from $5,499.99. A comparable LCD set made by Samsung was priced $2,497.99, down from $3,999.99.
Samsung, the world's biggest TV maker, has said OLED is still too expensive to produce for TVs.