LG Electronics to slash prices of its OLED TVs

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LG Electronics to slash prices of its OLED TVs

LG Electronics will cut the prices of its expensive OLED (organic light-emitting diode) TVs to prop up sluggish sales, the company announced Friday.

Despite their outstanding resolution, OLED TVs have turned out to be less popular than expected, largely because of their hefty price tags.

“The prices of OLED TVs will fall to 1.4 times the ordinary LCD TVs by the end of this year and about 1.2 to 1.3 times next year,” said Kwon Bong-seok, vice president and CEO of LG’s home entertainment division, at the IFA consumer electronics fair in Berlin on Friday local time.

He also announced the ambitious goal of beefing up the volume of OLED TV sales in the second half of the year fivefold compared to the first half. LG sold 15,000 OLED TVs in the first half, which is 10 times more than the same period a year before.

LG’s OLED TVs come in three sizes: 55, 65 and 77 inches. A 55-inch model currently retails for between 2.7 million won ($2,250) and 4.7 million won, but its price tag stood at above 5 million won just a year earlier.

“It is the production yield of the panels that determines the prices of OLED TVs,” Kwon said. “Price competitiveness has been improving in tandem with enhanced yield.”

OLED has an edge over LCD (liquid crystal display) in terms of picture quality and design flexibility and is considered the solution to producing transparent and flexible displays with no limits on design. But Samsung Electronics said earlier this year that it would “indefinitely” postpone developing OLED TVs, effectively giving up on the market segment, citing obscure market prospects.

The decision has inevitably placed LG in the dominant position to spearhead the large OLED panel market.

The company’s share of the global OLED TV market stood at 98.7 percent in August.

But Kwon expressed hope the Chinese and Japanese producers that have recently jumped on the OLED TV bandwagon would help expand the size of the market and will mean that LG will no longer be a solo player in the OLED TV game.

China’s Changhong, Skywork, Hisense and Konka have released OLED TVs and Japan’s Panasonic also showcased its first OLED TV at the IFA.

Regarding quantum dot technology, which is known to be a cheaper alternative to OLED TVs, Kwon said the company is still reviewing whether it offers sufficient quality relative to cost.

LG has been scheduled to launch TVs with quantum dot displays this month, with the quantum dots coming from U.S. company Dow Chemical.

BY SEO JI-EUN [seo.jieun@joongang.co.kr]
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