Samsung Display Co. is set to invest 13 trillion won (US$10.86 billion) to turn around its slumping large organic light emitting diode (OLED) business. It is the single largest investment in the domestic display industry.
The company will announce a new investment plan in the middle of next month at the Samsung Display Complex in Tangjeong, South Chungcheong Province, with senior officials from the central government and the local government in attendance, according to industry sources and South Chungcheong Province on Sept. 24.
The new investment will focus on converting its liquid crystal display (LCD) production lines at the Tangjeong plant to quantum dot-OLED manufacturing facilities. This is because LCD panel prices have recently plunged due to an oversupply by Chinese companies. Furthermore, Samsung Display has already been overtaken by Chinese firms in LCD panel technology. Accordingly, the company is seeking to establish its technology leadership again by investing in next-generation technology, including QD-OLED.
Market analysts say that Samsung Display will immediately close down most of L8-1-1 LCD lines in the Tangjeong plant and convert them to QD-OLED production lines. In this case, the number of the glass sheets processed on the company’s 8th-generation LCD lines will decrease by more than 200,000 from the current 360,000.
When Samsung Display upgrades its 8th-generation LCD lines in the Tangjeong plant to QD-OLED production lines, the company will have only one large LCD line in Suzhou, China.
Considering the fact that it usually takes three years from investment in facilities to mass production, Samsung Display is forecast to start mass production of QD-OLED panels in 2022.
A senior official from Samsung Display said, “We have been continuously studying a shift to QD-OLED. But no investment plan has been confirmed yet.”