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LG’s new $8.7 billion OLED plant may be anticipating new iPhones

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After showing off a range of OLED TVs at this year's CES, LG reaffirmed its commitment to OLED technology again today — LG Display will spend more than 10 trillion won ($8.71 billion) to build a factory that will produce OLED panels in the South Korean city of Paju, to open in the first half of 2018.

It's rumored Apple will use OLED panels in iPhones

LG Display will spend an initial 1.84 trillion won ($1.6 billion) to build the plant, which will produce both large screens for TVs, and flexible panels for cars and smaller devices such as smartwatches. Both Samsung and Sony have backed away from using the technology for TVs in favor of LCD panels, but Panasonic has joined LG in supporting the tech, launching its first commercial OLED TVs earlier this year. But the company thinks they're still too expensive — in September, Masahiro Shinada, head of Panasonic's TV arm, said that it would take OLED TVs two or three years before the market for the technology expanded.

LG's plans show its continued investment in OLED TVs, but the technology could also become a major source of income, if — as rumored — Apple is indeed planning to adopt OLED technology for its iPhones from 2018. In a report published yesterday, Nikkei said that LG Display was planning capacity upgrades in response to Apple's decision, as the American company consulted with display providers to secure a stable source of OLED screens. LG Display has not commented on the rumors, but the company already has a relationship with Apple, reportedly providing it with the OLED displays used in the Apple Watch.