LG Display is talking with major Chinese TV maker Skyworth on selling open cell OLED panels, according to industry sources.
Market watchers had expected the display maker to begin celling open cell panels as it starts running the large-sized OLED plants in China’s Guangzhou. The plant is scheduled to be completed by Aug. 29.
Ahn Seung-mo, LG Display’s executive in charge of the Chinese TV division told the Chinese media that the firm is in discussion with several TV companies including Skyworth. “TV manufacturers can cut costs by buying open cell panels,” said Ahn.
Selling TV panels in the state of open cells can cut costs because the TVs can decide for themselves how much to spend on further assembly procedures. This form of business is already quite common in the LCD industry. TV SET companies would bring in LCD panels in the cell form, assemble the backlight and driver IC to cut prices and conduct customized innovation.
OLED panels don’t need backlight, so it means there’s less room for cutting costs. However, TV makers can slash the labor costs involved with the assembly.
For key components such as driver IC, LG Display is likely to use its own suppliers because they would be the only companies able to match the level of technology the display maker requires, according to market sources.
“There are a number of scenarios on what could happen,” said Park Gi-chan, a professor at Konkuk University. “A better performing company can crop up to stimulate the market, but at the same time, LG Display can shine due to a lack of experienced companies.”
Industry watchers are now waiting to see whether the OLED open cell business can lead to bigger sales in China.
Right now, Europe is the biggest market for large-sized OLED TVs. According to market research firm HIS Markit, a total of 1.14 million OLED TVs were sold in the European region last year. That was 45% of all OLED TVs sold. In the first quarter of this year, more than half of the OLED TVs were sold in Europe.
In terms of size, the sales of 55-inch TVs were double that for 65-inch TVs. In the North American market where 520,000 OLED TVs were sold, 65-inch TVs sold slightly better than the 55-inch sets.
Meanwhile, LG Display is scheduled to begin selling 55-inch single-cut panels at its Guanzhou OLED plant. The display maker is also expected to begin producing Multi Model Glass in earnest there. In the second quarter of next year, the firm is to apply the 77-inch and 48-inch types.
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