South Korea's largest chemical company, LG Chem, announced a newfound collaboration with Japanese petrochemical firm Idemitsu Kosan. The two giants signed a patent-sharing agreement on Wednesday which will allow them to use each other's patents in order to further develop and distribute materials required for the manufacturing of organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels.
According to a recent report from South Korean online publication BusinessKorea, the partnership between LG Chem and Idemitsu Kosan will also accelerate the development of new OLED materials designed to improve both lifespan and energy efficiency of such modules. Additionally, while LG Chem and Idemitsu Kosan are already supplying the global OLED market with various materials, the two companies will reportedly lean on their new partnership in order to expand their customer portfolio in the future. It's worth reminding that LG Display – which is another company operating under the LG Corporation umbrella alongside LG Chem – is reportedly aiming to become a major AMOLED display supplier in the second half of 2017, in anticipation of a soaring demand for this display technology currently employed by an increasing number of smartphone manufacturers. Having said that, the technological developments expected to be carried forward by LG Chem and Idemitsu Kosan in regards to new OLED materials could possibly benefit LG Display as well.
As for Idemitsu Kosan, the Japanese company may not be a prominent name in the mobile industry, as it is first and foremost a petroleum company owning and operating oil platforms and refineries, and selling petrochemical products. However, it's interesting to look at Idemitsu Kosan's history with regards to OLED displays, as the company actually began developing OLED technologies in the 1980s, leading to its first full-color LED display to be introduced to the market in the late 1990s. The screen used the same OLED technology that was later adapted by Samsung and employed by its Galaxy smartphone series. Idemitsu Kosan continues to be a Samsung supplier to this date as the Japanese company provided the necessary components for the manufacturing of blue OLEDs spread across the 5.7-inch Super AMOLED panel on the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. An update on its latest endeavor with LG Chem may follow later this year.