Samsung Display said on Oct. 10 it plans to invest 13.1 trillion won ($10.9 billion) to roll out quantum dot OLED displays in a bid to gain an upper hand in the global market.
The display maker, fully owned by tech giant Samsung Electronics, has been producing LCD panels for TVs and OLEDs for mobile devices like smartphones and tablet PCs. It supplies OLED panels for top-tier smartphone makers including Apple and Huawei Technologies.
The world’s first manufacturing line for QD-OLED displays will be located at the firm’s industrial complex in Asan City, South Chungcheong Province. The new Q1 line, will have a monthly production capacity of 30,000 sheets, and will start operating in 2021. Display panels measuring 65 inches or larger will be manufactured at the line.
The existing eighth-generation LCD lines at the Asan complex will be gradually replaced by QD-OLED lines by 2025 as part of the planned transition scheme from LCDs to QD-OLEDs for large-sized electronic devices.
The company will run retraining and transfer programs for workers at the LCD lines, while hiring researchers to develop new QD materials and revamp the manufacturing processes.
“QDs, semiconductor particles that enable natural and precise color expression, is the new vision of the firm’s large-sized display business,” said Lee Dong-hoon, CEO of the display firm, vowing to lead the premium sector.
The company forecast that the new investment will create 81,000 jobs aside from hiring new staff.
Market analysts said Samsung’s decision to jump into the QD-OLED business means new opportunities for local display equipment companies as well.
Samsung Display, for example, currently utilizes Japanese firm Cannon Tokki’s vacuum evaporators, but it is expected that it could diversify its partners due partly to risks stemming from the ongoing trade war between South Korea and Japan.
The company also said it would spare no efforts to nurture display experts by partnering with local universities.
The latest move comes amid the neck-and-neck competition in the global display market. In the LCD sector where Samsung Display and its crosstown display firm LG Display have long dominated for years, Chinese LCD makers, including BOE, are forecast to take up 48 percent of the global market share in terms of production capacity this year with the Korean duo accounting for 24 percent, according to US market research firm Display Supply Chain Consultant.
By Kim Young-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)