LG Display to set up local plastic organic light-emitting diode (Oled) display production plant

South Korea's LG Display Co Ltd said today that it would invest KRW 1.05 trillion (roughly Rs 5,782 crores) to build a new local plastic organic light-emitting diode (Oled) display production plant, boosting spending for the next-generation technology.

LG Display said in a regulatory filing that the investment would start sometime in the third quarter and would be completed by the second quarter of 2017.

When the plant reaches full capacity, the output would be double that of an existing production line for LG Display.

The world's top liquid crystal display (LCD) maker had been mulling capacity addition for plastic Oled screens with increasing demand from applications such as smartphones and smartwatches from clients such as Apple Inc and sister firm LG Electronics Inc.

LG Display and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd subsidiary Samsung Display were the only firms in the industry capable of mass-producing Oled screens, which were more flexible and consumed less power than current-generation LCD screens.

Analysts had said LG Display would boost Oled capacity to enjoy a competitive edge over its Chinese rivals.

According to the South Korean firm, it would also use the plant to address future applications such as foldable screens and automotive displays.

Meanwhile, the company said in a statement, "LG Display's investment will help pioneer future display technologies such as foldable displays and large-size auto displays.

"The main advantage of a flexible OLED display is the screen's bending feature that is achieved by the use of a plastic substrate instead of a glass substrate as in a conventional OLED display. The use of the flexible OLED technology is now being expanded to smartphone, automotive and wearable device displays."

Meanwhile, according to some commentators, the timing of the investment was quite interesting and the investment the company was making could surely not been for a niche device like the Flex 2, or the tiny 1.3" circular panels on the Apple Watch.

Even if OLED TVs, and auto displays were to be considered, there needed to be a better reason for the outlay.

Apple was said to be actively exploring flexible OLED screen panels for future iPhones, and LG might look to ensure it would be able to ramp up capacity when the time came.

''It is very likely that the first flexible iPhone may be introduced in 2018, as Apple's top-tier display suppliers are working on it,'' claimed Korean media sources last month, and that might be one of the reasons behind LG's near-$1 billion investment.