This Apple Supplier Spreads Its Bets

LG DISPLAYApple (NASDAQ:AAPL) panel supplier LG Display (NYSE:LPL) is hoping to decrease its reliance on the Cupertino-based company, as it faces increasing pressure from an overall slowdown in the high-end smartphone market. Like many other component suppliers, Seoul, South Korea-based LG Display is also trying to counter the seasonal drop off in Apple orders that comes between iPhone refreshes.

“In the smartphone business, a specific customer accounts for a relatively high portion,” said LG Display Chief Financial Officer James Jeong via Reuters. “We are in talks with various firms on new product line-ups…We will gradually diversify our smartphone customers.”

Although LG Display does not name its “specific customer,” it is widely believed that the company derives most of its panel orders from Apple. According to many analysts, LG Display makes screens for both the iPhone and iPad products.

According to Reuters, Jeong is betting that a more diverse clientele will boost his company’s earnings in the second half of this fiscal year. Despite its heavy reliance on Apple, the Korea-based company reported a 53 percent rise in its quarterly operating profit at $326 million. However, it is believed that this increase was primarily due to the sales of its large-screen televisions.

LG Display is the second largest LCD panel maker after Samsung (SSNLF.PK). Its LG Electronics affiliate is also the third ranked smartphone vendor, after Samsung and Apple.

A recent supply chain rumor reported by the Taipei-based DigiTimes suggests that Apple is in talks with LG Display about purchasing 55-inch and 65-inch Ultra High-Definition television panels. Although this report is unconfirmed, it may indicate that Apple is interested in developing an Apple television, or “iTV.”

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