LG reportedly gives up on iPhone display manufacturing


LG lost out on orders for the newest iPhone SE.
Photo: Apple

LG is reportedly ending its production of LCD displays for iPhone after posting losses of $4.5 billion over the last five years. The South Korean company is also said to be considering leaving the smartphone market.

The news comes as LG continues to suffer steep declines in smartphone shipments, with its devices now accounting for just 2% of the worldwide smartphone market, according to the latest estimates.

LG was a major screen supplier for older iPhone models. But when its LCD panels failed to meet Apple’s expectations for the second-generation iPhone SE, Cupertino instead turned to other suppliers.

This is just one of a long line of hits the company has taken in the mobile space — all leading to massive losses and an ever-decreasing share of the worldwide smartphone market.

CEO Kwon Bong-Seok vowed to turn LG’s mobile business around when taking over last January. But a year on, with no signs of improvements, it seems that plan may have been scrapped.

LG gives up on mobile

The Korea Herald reports that LG will cease production of iPhone displays and repurpose the factory to supply automobile displays. It is also considering giving up on smartphones altogether.

Bong-Seok reportedly warned staff of this in a message distributed this week:

Since the competition in the global market for mobile devices is getting fiercer, it is about time for LG to make a cold judgment and the best choice. The company is considering all possible measures, including sale, withdrawal and downsizing of the smartphone business.

Bong-Seok also insisted that no matter what happens, LG will retain all current staff and reassign them elsewhere if necessary. It’s not yet clear what this might mean for announced but unreleased LG devices.

Rollable phones still coming?

LG became the first smartphone-maker to announce a rollable display at CES 2021 just this month. The company has explored other interesting handsets designs, including foldables like Samsung’s.

During the third quarter of 2020, LG shipped 6.5 million smartphones — a decline from 7.2 million during the same quarter of 2019 — according to the latest data from Counterpoint.