LG Display Co, one of the world's biggest manufacturers of display panels used in smartphones and televisions, will invest 5 trillion won (.7 billion) to build an OLED, or organic light-emitting diode, panel production plant in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province.
LG Display will take a 70 percent stake in the plant and Guangzhou Economic and Technological Development District will hold the remainder, the company told China Daily. The factory is expected to achieve mass production in the second quarter of 2019, manufacturing 60,000 OLED panels a month, which will be used for large-sized OLED televisions.
The company said it had gained approval from South Korea's trade ministry for this plan, the first time a South Korean firm will transfer such sophisticated technology abroad.
LG Display is the only company capable of mass producing large-sized OLED screens globally. The new factory will be the company's first overseas OLED plant and its second production line in Guangzhou. Its first liquid crystal display (LCD) panel production line went into operation in 2014.
Sales of OLED TVs are rising sharply in China. Statistics from Beijing-based consultancy All View Cloud (AVC) showed that OLED TV sales continued their rapid growth from January to October. In October, sales were up 239 percent year-on-year. It estimates the overall sales will surpass 100,000 units this year in China, with an annual growth rate of over 100 percent.
China's BOE Technology Group Co Ltd has invested heavily to ramp up its OLED production in recent years.
"At present, almost all of the large-sized OLED panels are provided by LG Display, and the production capacity of domestic display panel manufacturers lags behind their South Korea competitor," said Dong Min, general manager at AVC.
"The traditional LCD TV market is almost saturated and OLED TVs with innovative designs are in line with consumption upgrading. LG's new plant will help the display maker slash production costs and gain an upper hand in the Chinese market."
Zhang Hong, an analyst at Sigmaintell Consulting Co Ltd, a panel industry consultancy, said the expanded production capacity of large-sized OLED panels will speed up the innovation of televisions and raise the penetration rate of OLED TVs.
Domestic panel makers should enhance overall competitiveness by continuously accumulating cutting-edge technologies and have a layout in large-sized OLED sector in advance, Zhang added.