[THE INVESTOR] Apple has decided to invest 3 trillion won (US$2.70 billion) in LG Display's OLED production for smartphones, the Korea Economic Daily reported on July 28.
Apple will reportedly make the investment as advance payment for the planned panel supplies from the Korean display maker.
With the latest funding, LG Display's OLED production will reach 45,000 units of the sixth-generation OLED panel monthly. Of the total, Apple orders are likely to make up at least 30,000 units, sources said.
LG Display keeps mum on Apple’s OLED investment
Google mulls W600b funding for LG’s VR display chip
Why Apple's investing in PCB equipment
The two firms still remain mum on the funding plans possibly due to Apple’s partnership with Samsung Display, the sole supplier for the first OLED iPhone that will debut later this year.
With the renewed partnership with LG, its long-time LCD partner, Apple has secured a secondary supplier for the crucial OLED panel, while the Korean partner can reduce risks from the huge initial spending on beefing up its OLED production.
Sources say LG Display is likely to build a production line dedicated to iPhone orders only. About 3.5 trillion won is needed for 30,000 units of the mother glass monthly.
In the meantime, Google is also expected to invest 1 trillion won in LG Display’s OLED production as it is preparing for its first OLED smartphone. Amid tight supplies of the mobile OLED panels, Samsung Display, the market leader with more than 95 percent market share, is supplying the panels mostly to Samsung Electronics and Apple.
By Lee Ji-yoon (firstname.lastname@example.org)