[THE INVESTOR] Google is considering a 600 billion won (US$539 million) investment in LG Display's ongoing VR display chip project, Herald Business, a sister vernacular business daily of The Investor, reported on July 27.
“The two firms are finalizing details of the funding plans since their talks started early this year,” an industry source was quoted as saying. “LG Group, the holding unit, is closely involved in the ongoing talks.”
LG Display declined to confirm the report.
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LG Display, along with Seoul-based Hanyang University, has been conducting research to develop its own display chip for VR hardware since last year. As soon as the project is completed, LG’s fabless company Silicon Works will design the chip, while foundry companies such as Dongbu HiTek are expected to produce it.
The Korean display maker plans to produce the microdisplay panel equipped with the chip at its OLED production plant in Gumi, North Gyeongsang Province -- the first of its kind here.
“For the display panel, we are ready to start the production as soon as the chip development is complete,” said an LG Display official.
The possible funding by Google comes after a news report in April that the US tech giant was mulling a 1 trillion won investment in the Korean firm’s OLED production before launching its own OLED smartphone. At the time, LG Display said in a regulatory filing several clients were showing interest in its OLED production but nothing was confirmed on Google’s funding.
Amid tight supplies of OLED panels for smartphones, Apple is also reportedly considering funding LG Display. With the funding worth at least 2 trillion won, the Korean firm plans to build a separate production line solely dedicated to iPhone orders. About 3.5 trillion won is needed to build a production line with a monthly capacity of 30,000 sheets of the sixth-generation OLED mother glass that is most widely used for smartphone screens.
By Lee Ji-yoon (firstname.lastname@example.org)