[ET NEWS] Samsung Display plans to build the largest-ever OLED production lines in Korea in a bid to further widen the gap with fast-growing Chinese display makers, industry sources told ET News on June 30.
The new plant consisting of two buildings, tentatively called A5, will be located in Cheonan and Asan in South Chungcheong Province. The production capacity is expected to reach 180,000 to 270,000 units of the sixth-generation OLED panels per month, about 30 percent jump compared to its own A3 plant, currently the largest OLED plant.
“Even though the plan needs to be approved at a board meeting next month, Samsung has already informed the plans to key equipment suppliers,” an industry source said on condition of anonymity.
Considering the size, sources said the investment could amount to 2 trillion won (US$1.75 billion) for the building construction alone. If the construction starts later this year, the plant’s operation is expected to start from 2019.
Samsung has started expansion work of the A3 plant since 2015 in order to meet Apple’s orders. The display maker has beefed up OLED production for 135,000 units per month mostly for its sister firm Samsung Electronics and Apple. The A3 expansion work is still ongoing, with the completion set for October this year.
Sources said Samsung is likely to speed up the A5 construction compared to the A3 with aims to produce larger OLED panels for foldable devices. Currently, the most widely used smartphone OLED is 5-6 inches, while foldable devices would have a larger screen at about 9-10 inches.
“Chinese display makers are making all-out efforts to beef up production (that would lower panel prices overall). Samsung is seeking to secure an edge on production volume, technology and prices,” said another source.
A Samsung spokesperson declined to confirm the new plant plans, saying nothing has been confirmed.
By Bae Ok-jin (email@example.com) (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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