S-LCD, the liquid crystal display (LCD) joint-venture established by Samsung and Sony, has made an important step towards production with the opening of its offices and the start of installation of factory equipment.
The factory in Tangjung, South Korea, will act as a main production base for LCD panels for both companies when complete. Commercial production is scheduled to begin in the first half of 2005 and the plant will be capable of producing 60,000 panels per month when it reaches full capacity.
The production line will be a so-called seventh-generation line, which means it will be able to handle mother glass - the glass on which displays are made - up to 187cm x 220cm. Several displays are built onto each piece of mother glass and as larger glass is used the associated production costs are expected to fall.
Sony expects demand for LCD panels to increase as flat panel televisions become more popular and the venture is expected to help it secure a steady supply of panels.
Samsung and Sony are almost equal shareholders in the venture - Samsung holding 50 per cent plus one share and Sony holding 50 per cent minus one share. The company is capitalised at $US1.8 billion.