Japan's Sharp Corp. plans to expand its smartphone LCD panel production capacity spurred by Apple's plan to buy a major chunk of the LCD screens for its iPhone.

Nikkei reported that Sharp Corp. will invest 100 billion yen or $1.2 billion build new production facility for small and medium sized LCD display. It was also reported that Apple will fund a portion of the investment.

Reuters reported that the production is due to start in the first half of 2012.

Also it was earlier reported that Apple and Toshiba are opening a new LCD production plant in Ishikakw in China with a $1.2 billion investment. However, the report was denied by Toshiba according to DigiTimes.

Earlier this year in January TG Daily had reported that there was shortage of 10.1-inch LCD and OLED screens in the market supposedly because Apple had pre-ordered all the screens.