South Korea's LG Display <034220.KS> aims to invest about 220 billion yen ($2.83 billion) toward mass-production of OEL (organic electroluminescence) panels from the second half of 2014, the Nikkei business daily reported, quoting a top executive.
OEL displays, which consume less power and offer sharper images, are widely seen replacing LCDs as the dominant technology in TVs and other devices, the paper said.
With Samsung Electronics Co <005930.KS> also exploring the timing of a major investment, the two South Korean firms are taking the lead over Japan's big electronics manufacturers in this next-generation display technology for televisions, the paper said.
LG Display's investment will be used to manufacture OEL panels using the so-called 8.5-generation glass substrates measuring about 220 x 250cm, LG Display President Kwon Young-soo told the Nikkei.
Before starting mass production, LG Display will make a small quantity of OEL panels that group firm LG Electronics Inc <066570.KS> plans to use in 55-inch TVs, the paper said.
LG Electronics aims to sell 30,000 units of these TVs a month from the second half of 2012 and after evaluating their sales and costs, LG Display will make a final decision on whether to go ahead with the large investment, the newspaper cited Young-soo as saying.
Once mass production begins following the launch of the 55-inch sets, LG is expected to broaden its OEL TV offerings to include sizes of around 40 inches, the business paper said.
Samsung , the global leader in flat-panel TVs, is aggressively developing OEL technology as well but the Japanese competitors are lagging. Sony Corp <6758.T>, which pioneered the OEL TV field with an 11-inch model back in 2007, has already discontinued that product in Japan, the Nikkei said.
Toshiba Corp <6502.T>, Hitachi Ltd <6501.T>, Panasonic Corp <6752.T> and Sharp Corp <6753.T> have not even gotten beyond basic research, the paper reported.
(Reporting by Satyanarayan Iyer in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel)