LG Display starts mass producing OLED panels at its new factory in China

Mike Wheatley

LG Display has said it has finally begun “full-scale mass production” of OLED TV panels at its new factory in Guangzhou, China. The move will allow the company to almost double its OLED TV production capacity, it said.


Production at what is only the world’s second OLED TV factory was delayed several times due to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and problems with new manufacturing techniques being employed at the facility. However, it did begin small-scale production of its new, 48-inch OLED panels at the factory in summer. This week, it held an opening ceremony to celebrate “the beginning of mass production in earnest”.

LG Display has now increased its capacity from around 70,000 8.5G sheets per month to 130,000. Each of those sheets can be cut into smaller OLED panels, so its actual TV production capacity is much greater. The Guangzhou factory is using a new multi-model glass production method to enable it to mass produce the 48-inch panels.

The company said the factory’s new technique will help to improve production yields, resulting in more affordable OLED TVs ranging in size from 48-inches to 77-inches. It will also enable it to produce “extra-large” OLED TVs at more competitive prices.

“LG Display’s Guangzhou OLED panel plant will focus on manufacturing large-size high-resolution OLED products including 48-inch, 55-inch, 65-inch, and 77-inch panels, as it boasts high efficiency and productivity, which makes it more advantageous for the production of extra-large and high value-added OLED panels," the company said in a statement.

The extra production capability is needed as LG Display has customers lining up to order its OLED panels. This year, a total of 19 TV brands are planning to launch OLED TVs, including LG Electronics, Sony, Panasonic, Philips, Bang & Olufsen, Toshiba, Sharp, Vizio, Huawei, Xiaomi, Grundig, Hisense, Skyworth, and others.

“The production capacity will be expanded to 90,000 sheets per month down the road from the current capacity of 60,000 sheets depending on market demand," LG Display said.

As a consequence of its greater focus on OLED, LG Display is winding down its LCD TV panel production. It isn’t the only company to give up on the older technology, as Samsung is also looking to terminate LCD production to focus on its new Quantum Dot-based panels.

LG Display has however, postponed plans to invest in its more advanced, 10.5G factory in Paju, South Korea. That’s apparently because it believes its existing facilities are more than enough to meet its expected demand for the next few years.

The company will in any case be hoping that demand for its OLED panels continues to grow. In its second quarter financial results posted this week, it reported operating loss of 517 billion won (around £337.7 million), which it blamed on a temporary reduction in demand due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the falling price of LCD panels.