GADGETS

Sunday, January 01, 2006

SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS NEW LCD LINE









Samsung Electronics, the world's largest maker of flat screens, said it was set to start up its newest mass production line for liquid crystal display TV panels, three months ahead of schedule.

The start-up of a second "seventh-generation" line puts it ahead of rival LG.Philips LCD Co. Ltd, the world's number two flat screen maker, which is set to begin mass-producing LCD panels for large-size TVs at its own seventh-generation line in the first quarter of 2006.

Analysts are concerned the LCD industry could face overcapacity in 2006, as heavyweights like Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and LG.Philips LCD, both based in South Korea, ramp up output.

Samsung's new production line, Line 7-2, will initially produce 45,000 substrates, from each of which eight 40-inch panels can be produced, per month. The company plans to boost production in the second half to the line's full capacity of 90,000 substrates per month.

Total investment in the second line would reach 4.13 trillion won (US$4.09 billion), Samsung said.

Samsung, also the world's biggest maker of memory chips, already runs Line 7-1 jointly with Sony Corp, which currently produces 60,000 substrates per month.

Its LCD sales in 2005 topped $10 billion, Samsung said, without elaborating.

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