Samsung Electronics is planning to step up procurement of LCD (and possibly even OLED) TV display panels from Taiwanese and S. Korean sources, including rival LG Display, in order to reduce its dependence on Chinese sources, according to reports out of Asia Thursday.

Samsung Electronics is looking to purchase more LCD panels from Taiwan-based Foxconn/Sharp and S. Korean LG Display, and use them for certain premium LCD TVs, according to S. Korea tech trade news web site The Elec.

Samsung began acquiring panels from its chief rival LG Display along with Chian’s TCL/CSOT, BOE and other operations last year as Samsung’s panel production company Samsung Display began to shift its panel production away from less profitable LCD to newer display technologies including Micro LED and QD-OLED hybrid OLED/quantum dot.

One of Samsung’s larger panel sources in 2021 was CSOT, TCL’s panel manufacturing company.

The Taiwan Times for Industry and Commerce presented Omdia market research showing Samsung Electronics plans to increase panel purchases from Taiwanese companies including AUO, Innolux, and Sharp next year. The Elec reported forecasts for 10 million panel unit shipments from AUO and 5 million units shipments from Sharp.

Another, formerly unlikely source, was LG Display, which produces IPS-based panels (noted for wide viewing angles but lower overall contrast performance). LG Display LCD panels appeared in certain 2021 Samsung LED-LCD TV SKUs.

Looking ahead, The Elec cited domestic industry sources and Taiwan’s Industrial and Commercial Times saying Samsung Display is likely to withdraw from the large LCD panel business at the end of next year, requiring Samsung Electronics’ Visual Display (VD) division to adjust its mix of LCD panel supply sources.

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Many of these sourced panels are expected to be used in Samsung’s premium LED-LCD TV series, including its “Neo QLED” models that were introduced this year using mini-LED full array back lighting. The report said that as Samsung Display exits LCD production the proportion of panel supply from Taiwan’s AUO was becoming top heavy.

One like new source is Sharp. The report stated that Japan’s one-time LCD-manufacturing giant resumed trading after four years in 2020, but transactions between Samsung Electronics and Sharp had halted after Taiwan’s Foxconn took controlling interest in the Japanese manufacturer.

Meanwhile, The Elec cited industry observers saying Samsung Electronics will significantly increase the quantity of large-sized LCDs of LG Display next year and along with them OLED TV panels.

Samsung Electronics reportedly has a TV shipment target of 44 million to 45 million LCD TV units next year and plans to secure 53 million TV panels to cover its needs.

According to reported Omdia data more than half of Samsung Electronics’ 53 million TV panel shipments next year will be supplied by Chinese companies such as CSOT and BOE, while LG Display is expected to account for 2% share of Samsung’s total LCD TV panel volume.

As part of the deal, The Elec also reported that panel-supply negotiations between Samsung and LG Display might now include LGD’s large-sized W-OLED panels. Samsung Display is reportedly gearing up production of its QD-OLED panels (using blue OLED light) to supply Samsung Electronics next year, but the report suggests Samsung now also could be planning to add W-OLED (producing white OLED light) TVs to its lineup next year.

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By Greg Tarr

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