Samsung Display shares LG supplier and pushes on with QD-OLED production
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Samsung’s QLED TVs are proving popular but now the company appears to be ready to move forward with its next step technology, Quantum Dot Organic LED, which means a move towards large panel OLED production, something Samsung has struggled with in the past.With a planned announcement regarding investment into QD-LED production cancelled in April, Samsung now appears to be unable to postpone plans any longer and looks set to proceed with large scale investment in order to get QD-OLED panel production started by its stated goal of 2021. What’s more, they appear to be turning to long time rival LG Display for a helping hand.
According to industry sources, Samsung’s final decision on QD-OLED TV panel production will be made by the end of this month or early in July but a ‘well -informed’ source said: “The company has decided to shift its focus to QD-OLED. It only needs to work out details for the conversion,” indicating the decision is all but made, since, in order to start volume production of the QD-OLED panels by 2021, investment and fab conversions have to take place now to make those targets achievable.
The result of Samsung’s financial commitment to QD-OLED production will be the cessation of LCD production at the Asan Campus in Cheonan at the end of August followed by conversion to QD-OLED production.
All this is taking place in an environment of highly unusual talks between Samsung Display and Yas, who are arch-rival LG Display's key supplier of the organic material deposition equipment required for OLED panel production.
LG Display has been notified of the talks since they have invested 10 billion won ($8.63b billion) in Yas and also have a 15% stake in the company plus two former LG Display executives on Yas’s board of directors.
A Yas official said, "We are in practical level talks, but the specs of the equipment we may supply have yet to be finalized.” They went on to add, “Whether this would be a pilot program or for mass production will be decided once Samsung Display decides to invest.”
Talks are in progress to determine the scope of the technology that Yas would make available to Samsung and LG appears to be making supportive noises.
It’s a surprise move but one that industry analysts have suggested would be a benefit to all. Indeed, back at CES 2019, LG Display CEO, Han Sang-beom, said that Samsung Display’s development of the QD-OLED panel is not a threat but would create more technological progress overall.
Additionally, Yoo Jae-soo, head of the Korea Information Display Society also added concern about the threat from burgeoning Chinese panel manufacturers, “It’s no longer competition between local display makers, but with China. We need to enhance our technological prowess by having the key players share whatever strengths they each have.”
Industry watchers speculate that the Asan Campus plant will receive an investment of up to 3 trillion won (US$2.58 billion) from Samsung to purchase the required equipment and undergo conversion from LCD to QD-OLED panel production.
The investment is less than originally forecast by the industry. Possible reasons for this include the fact that Samsung may be eyeing up the possibility of adding further investment in a QD-OLED production line in their new A5 plant, which is currently under construction. However, full-blown plans may be difficult to commit to since the business support task force that drives Samsung’s investment is currently involved in a financial investigation.
It’s also expected that the South Korean electronics giant would like to see what the performance and yields are post-LCD to OLED conversion before seeing where further investment is required.
Despite conflicting and changing timelines being bandied around, often at the same time, what’s starting to emerge is the fact that QD-OLED is a technology with a future if Samsung has their way.
Source: www.businesskorea.co.kr, www.oled-info.com, en.thelec.kr ,
Image Source: TheElec, BusinessKorea
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