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By Kang Yoon-seung
PAJU, South Korea, Aug. 17 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's leading flat panel maker LG Display Co. said Monday it plans to spend 10 trillion won (US$8.46 billion) by 2018 to further nurture its organic light-emitting diode (OLED) business.
The OLED segment is set to become a game changer for the global display industry, LG Display said, adding it will speed up its departure from the traditional liquid crystal display (LCD) business.
"While the plan (to focus on the OLED segment) aims to make LG Display a sustainable company, we must pioneer into the OLED industry in order to make South Korea beat rival countries and secure dominance," said Han Sang-beom, the head of LG Display.
The company said it will allocate a large slice of the investment to tap deeper into the large-sized OLED panel segment for premium TV lineups and into the mid-sized area for flexible and wearable products.
It also plans to find new sources of profits, including signages for outdoor advertising. While Han declined to comment on the details of the investment plans, he said the amount could be more than 10 trillion won.
"We should take a look at how Tesla Motors Inc. has grown over the past years (in the electronic automobiles industry). I cannot say the OLED will succeed next year. But we will take step-by-step measures to bears fruit from the segment," Han said.
LG Display said its expansion of the OLED business is anticipated to contribute 35.5 trillion won to the country's economy and create some 130,000 new jobs, leading to a revitalization of the local market.
LG Display said the latest moves by Chinese, Japanese and Taiwanese rivals to restructure their display capabilities also have pushed the company to speed up its transition to the OLED sector.
"We never underestimate the rise of Chinese rivals. They are scary as they receive huge support from their government. But we still have competitiveness," Han said, adding LG Display will make efforts to keep up strength in the LCD industry as well.
Yoon Sang-jik, Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy, said he welcomes the move made by LG Display, adding that the government will also provide necessary support for the company.
"We all know that the OLED segment will become the future of the display industry. And South Korea is ahead of its rivals," Yoon said. "We need a strategy to far outpace other players."
"With LG Display rolling out a timely management strategy, we will actively support the vision," Yoon added.
The world's OLED market is anticipated to reach US$28.3 billion in 2022, soaring from $8.7 billion in 2014, according to the data compiled by DisplaySearch.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of LG Display's production of flat-display products. LG Display said its sales climbed to 26.4 trillion won in 2014 from 1.5 billion won in 1995.
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