[THE INVESTOR] Expectations are high about a rare partnership between Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics that have rarely shared each other’s parts for their top-selling smartphones and TVs as they compete in almost all electronics and components sectors.
After Sharp notified Samsung that it would cut by half its supply of liquid-crystal display panels for TVs in November 2016, the world’s largest TV maker sought help from other display makers, especially its crosstown rival LG Display.
LG Display CEO and Vice Chairman Han Sang-beom (center) speaks at a press conference during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Jan. 4.
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Despite earlier skepticism about their tie-up not just because of their decades-old bitter rivalry but also because of their adopting different display manufacturing technologies, their top executives recently admitted related talks were ongoing for “long-term and positive results.”
“We are seeking ways for a long-term partnership,” LG Display CEO and Vice Chairman Han Sang-beom told reporters early this month. “If we supply the panels, it won’t happen within the first half of this year considering diverse technological adjustments are needed to be made.”
Samsung’s TV chief Kim Hyun-seok also confirmed the talks in a separate media meeting, saying: “Nothing has yet been decided but we are discussing the issue seriously.”
Adding to displays, there is a positive sign about their possible partnership. Samsung is also in talks to use batteries from LG Chem for its upcoming flagship Galaxy S8 as part of its efforts to diversify battery suppliers. Currently, Samsung SDI and China’s ATL are the sole suppliers.
“During the Note 7 fiasco last year, there were some speculations about Samsung using LG Chem batteries. But that was not realized considering it takes months for the technological adjustments and testing for a new battery,” said an official of a local battery maker on condition of anonymity.
By Lee Ji-yoon (firstname.lastname@example.org)