CES 2020: LG targets selling 6 million OLED TV panels

The South Korean display maker expects to return to profitability during the second half of 2020, its CEO said.

lg-signature-oled-8k-tv-77zx.jpg

Image: LG

LG Display has set the target of shipping over 6 million OLED TV panels for 2020, double last year's amount, its CEO has said.

Ahead of CES 2020, CEO Jeong Ho-young told a press conference for South Korean media that while the company has faced "multiple difficulties", it will continue to expand OLED TV panel shipments and to put resources into its mobile OLED and LCD businesses.

Jeong said he expects a turnaround at the beginning of the second half of 2020 when "conditions for normalisation and return to profitability will be set". The first half will continue to remain difficult however, he said.

LG Display posted an operating loss of 937 billion won as of the third quarter last year and its annual losses are expected to far exceed 1 trillion won, which would be its worst performance in nearly a decade. 

Stiff competition in the LCD market from Chinese vendors and slower-than-expected growth in OLED TV panel are the causes for these losses, LG said.

Jeong was named as CEO in September in an emergency board meeting. Since then, the company has laid off hundreds of employees and dozens of executives, including those responsible for the quality of its OLED panels.

Meanwhile, the firm's OLED TV panel factory in Guangzhou, China, which was meant to begin operations last year, has faced delays. LG has faced yield rate issues with the panels at the factory, Jeong said, but the company has been working hard to overcome the issues, with production expected to begin in the first quarter of 2020. 

See more: CES 2020: LG pushes AI future with 8K TVs and home appliances

The expanded production capacity for OLED TV panels that is expected to arise from the new Guangzhou factory will allow LG Display to expand in profitability and sales, Jeong noted.

LG Display will also strengthen its efforts in creating plastic OLEDs aimed at mobile devices going forward, the CEO said. LG's mobile OLED clients plan to launch their devices sometime in the second quarter, he added. Another one of its unnamed clients will also launch a notebook with LG's foldable display technology in 2020. 

Despite the company being the sole producer of OLED TV panels, having unveiled a version that can roll down from the ceiling last week, it has lagged behind its rival Samsung Display in the mobile OLED space.

LG Display has also begun preparing its own MicroLED offering, the CEO said, but said its target customer base will differ from rival Samsung. 

At the start of this week, Samsung unveiled a new MicroLED TV panel, dubbed The Wall, that will be available in a slew of sizes for consumers to purchase. The company's TV boss Han Jong-hee told South Korean media that the new TVs will be on sale in the second half of the year.

RELATED COVERAGE