LG Display is investing close to 10 trillion won ($8.86 billion) to open three new large-scale OLED production plants for large panels, and early research is indicating that production expansion of the sort that LG Display is proposing will be large enough to actually expand the market for large OLED panels, especially TVs, as a whole. Approximately 2.8 trillion won is set to be invested into the creation of a 10.5G line at a plant in Paju, 1.8 trillion won is earmarked for an 8.5G line at a plant in Guangzhou, China, and finally, 5 trillion won is intended to fund the creation of a 6G line at Paju that will specialize in flexible OLED panels for products like digital signage and curved TVs.
Estimates put LG Display’s 8.5G OLED production capacity at around 60,000 units per month by the end of the year, and double that once production begins at the Guangzhou plant. The planned 10.5G line, meanwhile, will likely be producing around 30,000 panels per month once production begins in 2020. LG Display’s total expenditure for the expansion of OLED manufacturing is estimated to be around 16.8 trillion won ($14.89 billion), between now and the second half of 2020. This large-scale investment will result in an extra 120,000 8.5G OLED panels per month and another 30,000 10.5G panels, when all is said and done, meaning an extra 150,000 panels per month will join the market, driving supply up and prices down, which will allow for cheaper consumer applications, and a wider variety of more innovative uses of the company’s display technology, some industry watchers believe.
If the figures that have been estimated thanks to this early research all end up holding true, OLED TV shipments should hit 1.7 million per year by the end of 2017, and four million units per year by 2020. This, of course, is just a guess on how LG Display’s massive investments and increased production will affect the market. Other companies will react in kind, and some may do so in unexpected ways, such as ramping up production on a massive scale to compete with the Seoul-based panel manufacturer, or dropping out entirely in the face of overwhelming competition. Samsung Display will almost certainly be one of the most interesting competitors to watch between now and 2020, especially since the company apparently plans to build the world’s largest OLED factory over this period.