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Samsung spends $1bn on LCD factory

Samsung Electronics says it plans to spend more than $1bn (£635m) on its sixth new plant to manufacture flat-panel displays in the next year. 

It is the world leader in the thin film transistor (TFT), liquid crystal display (LCD) computer monitors and televisions.

The company said that construction of the factory, south of Seoul, has already begun and initial production is scheduled for the end of this year with full-scale production commencing in the first half of 2004.

When full production begins the factory will have a capacity of 60,000 glass substrate panels, measuring 1.1m x 1.3m, per month.

Because of the large substrates that can be handled by the plant, Samsung said it intends to use the lines to manufacture TFT LCD panels of 17in or larger.

Samsung is beefing up its production capacity for large size panels as it predicts the market for such displays is about to increase sharply. It estimated the worldwide market for LCD monitors was 32.4 million units last year and is expected to hit 48.6 million this year and grow to 78.4 million in 2005.

The company was ranked as the leading producer of TFT LCD panels in 2002 by market research company DisplaySearch with a 17% share of the world market. Its nearest competitor, LG Philips LCD, had a 16.6% share of the market.


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