LG Display plans heavy investment in OLED plant

LG G Flex

Apple's iPhone displays are linked to the South Korean company LG Display in a news report. The Telegraph said that LG Display has invested heavily in a flexible-screen production line.

Mass production is targeted for 2017. The Thursday report teased a dot for connection: Apple may be hatching iPhones in the future that will have flexible screens.

LG Display itself announced Thursday it will spend 1.05 trillion won over the next two years to build a factory for flexible organic light-emitting diode (OLED).

The flat panel maker runs two production lines in Gumi and Paju, north of Seoul. The Paju facility makes large-size OLED panels for TVs and those used in smartphones; most of the smaller OLEDs for wearables and vehicle parts are produced in the southern provincial city of Gumi. The new factory will be in Gumi.

The new production line will have a monthly capacity of 75 million sheets, four times higher than that of its existing flexible OLED facility, according to the Yonhap News Agency.

What is more, "The new line will produce more than 200 cuts 5.5-inch cuts from a single plastic substrate sheet - the same size as an iPhone 6 Plus display," said The Telegraph.

Flexible plastic organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays would be replacing glass screens.

Talk about Apple taking on new screen types in the future, meanwhile, also made headlines last month, when BusinessKorea said Apple may have curved iPhones by 2018. "According to an industry source," said BusinessKorea, Apple was "serious" about transferring its flagship product lineup to one with OLED screens.

The source said it was likely that the first flexible iPhone may be introduced in 2018, "as Apple's top-tier display suppliers are working on it."

Beyond smartphones, LG Display in its Thursday announcement said that flexible OLED display has emerged as a lucrative profit source for wide use in other devices such as watches and vehicle dashboards.

Reuters on Thursday named LG Display and Samsung Display as the two key players that are capable of mass-producing OLED screens, which are more flexible and consume less power than current LCDs.

"Flexible displays have been seen as the next generation of screens for various consumer products ranging from smartphones and smartwatches to TVs, but producing such displays requires highly sophisticated and complex manufacturing techniques," said Min-Jeong Lee in The Wall Street Journal. "That has kept companies from producing the displays in large volumes."

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