While LG Display revenue only dropped by 13% year-over-year in Q2, operating profit was down 91% from this time last year. Those figures maybe up from Q1, but they weren’t enough to save LG Display from a net loss of 84 billion. To put that in perspective, this time last year LG Display posted a net income of 363 billion. Meanwhile, Samsung Display is having to scale back on some of its fancy display tech too.
Tough times for LG Display
Despite the rather grim figures, LG Display still managed to post its seventeenth straight quarterly operating profit. But if the steadily eroding profit margin on display panels is anything to go by, it may be one of LG Display’s last. LG’s panel division credited it’s meager profitability to “thorough and profit-focused management”.
It’s no secret that display production is an increasingly tough business, with LCD production becoming less and less profitable and more focus being put on higher profit margin OLED panels. As LG Display notes in a press release, it had to expand its display offerings “in response to difficult market conditions caused by continuing falls in panel prices and the aggressive expansion of LCD production capacity by Chinese panel makers.”
No more transparent displays
The news comes just as we’re hearing that Samsung Display has chosen to stop producing its super-cool transparent OLED panels, which were only a proof-of-concept last year. While a hair salon in Seoul reportedly received the first of these panels, a new report claims Samsung has shelved the technology due to because there’s isn’t enough demand to justify the investment.
Fortunately OLED production generally is still forging ahead. Both Samsung and LG are investing heavily in this area and LG plans to “establish a competitive edge through timely investments in cutting-edge technologies for the future including flexible OLED displays.” So while a tough display panel market may mean we miss out on transparent OLED panels for now, we should at least get flexible OLED panels even sooner.
What display tech do you want to see? Where do you see smartphone displays going in future?