SAMSUNG HAS SHUTTERED a large LCD display operation in order to concentrate full time on OLED-based products.
A report in Business Korea says that the facility in Cheonan, South Chungcheong Province, has shut down its L5 line, the fifth generation of LCD displays, and begun selling the equipment to other manufacturers.
The age of the equipment meant it was only suitable for notebook and small monitor displays. With OLED now rolling out in phones such as the recent Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, and big-screen TVs, it seems that the company has decided to make a break with the past.
The Korean manufacturer sold off its fourth generation production line to a Chinese company last year. A spokesman for Samsung Display confirmed: "The company shut down the L5 line last month and is seeking companies that are willing to acquire idle equipment."
Although the equipment and the products it produces may seem outdated, there is still a huge market for this stuff in lower end electronics. Some analysts believe that there are tens of billions of Korean Won in any sale. Ten billion Won is about £5.6m, which doesn't sound nearly as much but is still better than poke in the eye.
The Cheonan factory is likely to be converted to make OLED products, with talk of deals for AMOLED phone displays for Huawei and even an acceleration of its on-again-off-again Ernie and Bert relationship with Apple said to be at the heart of the decision to ramp up production.
Samsung still operates three LCD production lines, but analysts question if this is the beginning of a move to OLED production only, and if so, what effect that will have on the company as demand for cheaper LCD screens continues to grow, with production ramping up in China.
Samsung has lost market share in the end user market with recent Galaxy products failing to sell as well as their predecessors. As such these component deals are the lifeblood of the business, with a contract to produce high-end screens for Apple alone worth billions. µ
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