Samsung to ramp up advanced display production with $10.8 billion investment: report

The focus is on boosting OLED and QD, while also reducing basic LCD production.

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Samsung is set to pour 13 trillion won ($10.8 billion) into the production of display panels in South Korean facilities. 

News agency Yonhap reported Tuesday that the investment will be used to upgrade the tech giant's liquid crystal display (LCD) factories in Asan, close to Seoul, in South Korea. 

Existing LCD panel production will be changed over time to quantum dot (QD) display manufacturing. 

According to Yonhap, the massive investment will be officially announced in October. However, a timeframe for the upgrades is not yet known. 

The LCD market for larger screens is facing difficulty due to strong competition from Chinese vendors, backed by state subsidies, who are able to produce similar displays for a lower price tag. 

The US-China trade war is also likely causing strain, with uncertainty and the imposition of tariffs.

LCDs were once a profitable business for companies such as Samsung and LG, but both companies are moving towards more expensive products, including OLED and QD in a bid to keep their dominant positions in the display market.  

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A source at Samsung Display told Nikkei that the "market situation is too bad" to persevere with LCD and "increasing stocks" are becoming a heavy burden for the company. As a result, Samsung is expected to reduce standard LCD production rates in favor of creating lines suitable for more advanced displays.

A Samsung Display spokesperson told Reuters that "nothing has been decided" on future investment plans. 

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Yonhap also reported on Tuesday that Samsung SDI, the firm's electric vehicle battery arm, has inked a deal with Akasol to provide battery cells and modules. The German manufacturer will receive lithium-ion cells from Samsung from 2020 through to 2027. 

The financial terms of the contract have not been disclosed. 

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Earlier this month, Samsung announced the availability of the Galaxy Fold in the United States, with a release date set for September 27. 

The launch had been delayed due to a variety of technical issues faced by technology reviewers, who received samples of the foldable mobile device ahead of time. It seems that not every problem has been ironed out, as the South Korean tech giant recently warned that everyday items -- such as keys, coins, and cards -- should be kept away from the Galaxy Fold's screen to prevent damage. 

In the internal hardware arena, Samsung has recently launched a 0.7µm pixel image sensor for smartphones. The Isocell Slim GH1 is smaller than its predecessors and is capable of 43.7 megapixels.

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