Apple has invested at least $1.7 billion in LG Display's OLED production, industry watchers say


At the end of May news broke out about LG Display's intention to invest 4 trillion won (~$3.5 billion) to build a new smartphone OLED panel manufacturing facility in its home country of South Korea. But the company apparently wasn't done with that round of investment, as it mentions in its latest earnings report that it is pouring an additional 9.6 trillion won ($8.5 billion) into its OLED production business — and industry watchers say Apple may have been a key factor in that decision.

The investment consists of two separate parts: 5 trillion won will go towards LG Display's mobile OLED panels, while an additional 4.8 trillion will be used for the company's existing facilities targeting larger form factors, such as television sets. The total of 9.6 trillion won is a bit problematic, though, considering LG Display's cash reserves are estimated to be about 7 trillion won.

This is where Apple comes in: at the very minimum, an investment of 2 trillion won (or about $1.8 in U.S. currency) is needed for such a move to be possible. Rumors about the partnership between Apple and LG have been floating around for quite a while, and while both companies are still refusing to confirm the deal's existence, industry watchers say LG would not have moved ahead with its plans if the two companies hadn't already inked it.

As for what Apple gets out of the investment, the answer is simple: dibs on LG's future OLED panels. With the iPhone 8's move to organic displays, Apple has been facing a massive shortage of panels, which it likely wants to avoid in the future. And in fact, insiders reportedly claim that a result of the investment will be a whole new OLED production line dedicated entirely to iPhones.

Curiously enough, the news comes out mere days after we first heard rumors of Apple buying its own OLED manufacturing machines. So it appears future iPhone models have a fair chance of being manufactured by three separate companies: Apple, LG Display, and Samsung Display (who is currently making the iPhone 8's displays as well).

source: The Investor

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6 Comments

1. slow00

Posts: 97; Member since: Mar 08, 2017

great move for LG....since the company cant sell any phones cause they suck big time its wise to seek for an alternative revenue stream. ..but the samsung galaxy s8 lags (ignore this. i have been diagnosed with Lumbergh-itis)

3. sgodsell

Posts: 7451; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

First of all Apple doesn't make anything. Let alone make its own displays. LG made the iPhones IPS displays and the current P-OLED displays in the Apple watches as well as other smart watches. LG had already invested in OLED display production last year and this year. As a matter of fact LGs OLED displays for smartphones are arriving this year in LG's new V30, the new Google Pixel 2, as well for a number of other OEMs including now Apple. If Apple didn't invest anything, the displays were still coming with out Apple giving a dime.

4. 47AlphaTango

Posts: 734; Member since: Sep 27, 2015

And who would buy an LG since it was known to be plagued with boot loops? Many users avoid buying LG because of this problem. Look at the price of the LG G6. It has dropped exponentially.

5. sgodsell

Posts: 7451; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Are you an idiot or something. LG makes displays for other OEMs as well as themselves. Plus LG already makes OLED displays. Look at the Apple watch as well as other smart watches. Btw there is over 140 Android smartphone OEMs. Plus their G6 is doing well.

6. sgodsell

Posts: 7451; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

So I guess Apple is doing really bad since their is a lot of BOGO deals on right now. Buy an iPhone 7 and get a free iPhone 7. Buy an iPhone 6s and get a free iPhone SE. With sales like that, then Apple has to be doing bad as well, using your analogy.

2. rebretz

Posts: 114; Member since: Dec 26, 2011

So between Apple and Google there has been a $2 billion investment in LG OLED display in the last year. Besides this being good for Apple, Google, and LG many other companies will benefit from having another OLED manufacture in the game.

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