Companies from both India and China have shown interest in buying Samsung Display’s liquid crystal display (LCD) equipment at its now-defunct L8-1 LCD production line, TheElec has learned.
L8-1 line was previously used by the South Korean display panel maker to manufacture panels for TV and IT products, but the line went offline during the first quarter of this year. Samsung Display has previously said it was exiting its LCD business.
Since then, the company has started a bidding process for the LCD production equipment at the line.
There is no clear favorite among the bidders from India and China at the moment, sources said.
However, companies from India are likely to be more aggressive in purchasing the equipment as the government there is planning to promote their LCD industry, they said.
According to a report by Digitimes in May, which cited Indian media, the Indian government is planning to spend US$20 billion on LCD projects.
The report at the time said the precise details of the policy would be announced six months later.
It said the Indian government was hoping to build a Gen 6 (1500x1850mm) line for smartphones and Gen 8.5 (2200x2500mm) lines for other products.
The LCD equipment at Samsung Display’s L8-1 line is for Gen 8.5 substrates.
China is currently the dominant country when it comes to the LCD industry, thanks to an aggressive push by companies there such as BOE and CSOT.
Meanwhile, India is yet to make meaningful inroads in the LCD space due to a lack of infrastructure that can support the industry, such as readily available electricity and water.
However, according to India Cellular and Electronics Association, local LCD demand is expected to grow to US$18.9 billion in 2025 from its current US$5.4 billion.
Samsung Display’s sales of its LCD equipment will likely be not wrapped up until next year, the sources said.
Meanwhile, the company is only operating one LCD line, L8-2, at its plant in Asan, South Korea.
The firm initially intended to wrap up its exit from the LCD business last year but had been extending production from the request of Samsung Electronics’ TV business.
The deadline for the exit has now been pushed back to 2022.
Instead of LCD, Samsung Display is aiming to focus on Quantum Dot (QD) displays such as QD-OLED panels.
Previously, other lines such as L7-1 and L7-2 halted operations in 2016 and during the first quarter this year, respectively. Since then, L7-1 has been renamed A4-1 and converted to a Gen 6 OLED line.
The company is currently converting L7-2 to another Gen 6 OLED line named A4E(A4 Extension).
L8-1, which is a Gen 8.5 line, halted production during the first quarter this year. Component company YMC had started dismantling the installed LCD equipment in July. The process will be wrapped up in May next year. L8-2 is currently manufacturing LCD panels.
Meanwhile, Samsung Display sold another of its Gen 8.5 LCD line at Suzhou, China, to CSOT in March.