According to the electronics industry on April 12, LG Electronics decided to transfer its organic light emitting diode (OLED) time controller design business to Silicon Works, the only semiconductor company of the LG Group and is working on the transfer work. Silicon Works is a fabless company which became an affiliate of the LG Group in 2014. The largest shareholder of Silicon Works listed on the KOSDAQ is LG Corp., which owns a 33.1% stake in Silicon Works.
The SIC Center under the CTO of LG Electronics is working on the design of time controllers for OLED TVs. Since the LG Group has not have a semiconductor production line, production work has been given to domestic and overseas foundry companies. The sale is expected to be completed in the first half of the year. The sale price is estimated to be several billion won.
The time controller business which LG Electronics intends to transfer to Silicon Works, is the manufacture of system semiconductors essential to mid- to large-sized displays such as those for monitors and TVs. The component controls the amount of data transmitted to display driving ICs (DDIs) mounted on panels. This function realizes optimal image quality such as eliminating afterimages.
Since the acquisition of Silicon Works in 2014, the LG Group has concentrated its semiconductor design business on the company. In 2015, Lucem, a subsidiary of the LG Group, transferred its system IC business to Silicon Works. LG Electronics transferred a part of the display semiconductor design business at the SIC center to the company as well. At that time, the time controller business for LCD TVs among others was transferred. The business to be sold to Silicon Works this time involves time controllers for OLED TVs, which require higher technology than time controllers for LCD TVs. It means that LG Electronics will incubate OLED TV time controller design technology and transfer it to Silicon Works.
"Time controller production requires higher technology than other system semiconductors for TV panels," a fabless industry official said. "As OLED panels are thin and do not have a light source, time controllers for OLED panels need additional design technology.”
Under these circumstances, it is said that Silicon Works is expected to play an important role in realizing the LG Group's dream to establish an integrated semiconductor maker that can design and produce semiconductors. Therefore, some experts predict that Silicon Works will sound out about taking over a Korean or foreign foundry company. The LG Group engaged in the semiconductor business through LG Semiconductor founded in 1979. However, the LG Group handed over its semiconductor business to Hyundai Electronics via a government-led semiconductor big deal during Korea’s financial meltdown in the 1990s. It is analyzed that the LG Group urgently needs to secure a fab capable of producing semiconductors on its own in order to expand its electric device business as well as its current set business.