LG Display has decided to dispatch its officials to China through a chart flight later this month to make final preparations for the operation of its new organic light emitting diode (OLED) panel factory in Guangzhou.
The company plans to start operation of the new plant, which was completed in August last year, in the second quarter of 2020.
LG Display has recently finished the selection of necessary personnel to operate the OLED panel factory, and informed them of a business trip plan with the departure date set at March 26.
However, it is unclear whether the inspection team can start work at the plant as planned as Chinese authorities force travelers from Korea to isolate themselves for two weeks. The team consists of more than 100 officials, including researchers and engineers.
LG Display has asked Asiana Airlines, which operates flights to Guangzhou, to arrange a charter flight to depart on March 26.
LG Display planned the large-scale business trip despite a decision in January by all LG Group affiliates to minimize business trips to China because of the COVID-19 outbreak. This means that a countdown began for the operation of the Guangzhou OLED panel plant. LG Display initially planned to put the plant into operation in August last year, and it was postponed afterwards. So the company judged that it could not delay the factory’s operation any longer.
LG Display plans to supply a significant amount of OLED panels from the Guangzhou plant to LG Electronics which makes OLED TVs. OLED panel supply to LG Electronics has not been smooth so the TV maker has not been able to roll out 48-inch OLED TVs as planned.
However, Guangzhou has been implementing immigration measures on travelers from Korea since February. LG Display officials who need to be immediately put into the production process at the factory can be isolated in a quarantine facility for at least two weeks.
Recently, the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and LG Display have requested the Guangzhou government to exempt the LG team from the quarantine regulation, but the request was rejected. LG Display has included officials who returned to Korea from China shortly after the virus outbreak in the inspection team as new business travelers have trouble in receiving a visa from China. As a result, there is concern that China's strict immigration measures could delay or abort LG Display's manpower dispatch plan.