The South Korean government has approved LG Display’s plan to build an organic light-emitting diode (OLED) plant in Guangzhou on the condition that the electronics giant is allowed to keep its technology a secret, a Korean government official told Caixin.
But the government has now changed its mind due to increasing competition from companies from other countries, the official said. The panel gave the condition that LG Display must increase the localization of its equipment and its investment at home. The approval comes a few months after LG Display announced it would invest $7 billion in its OLED production to compete with Samsung.
The ministry said in a statement that the approval was conditional on LG Display boosting the use of local materials and equipment, subsequent investment in South Korea and strengthening processes such as security checks. An LG Display spokeswoman did not have an immediate comment.
LG is currently the only company capable of producing large OLED panels, which are used in its TV screens and are expected to eventually replace less-flexible liquid crystal display (LCD) panels. LG says that it aims to invest a total of $13 billion into OLED production lines through 2020.
Earlier this year reports also suggested that Samsung is planning to make the world’s biggest OLED plants in South Korea to catch up with the production of flexible OLED screens for other devices. Samsung Display, as of now, controls 98 percent of global markets for small and medium flexible OLED screens.