LG Display Lands E-Paper Deal To Join Blossoming Market

Each and every time that we think the e-ink and e-reader market has reached its temporary peak, we're reminded yet again exactly what "temporary" means. LG Display, a giant in the monitor and HDTV arena, has just signed a cross-licensing agreement with Taiwan's Prime View International Co., and it'll be buying up $30.5 million worth of that company's bonds. Why? In order to "tap into the fast-growing electronic paper market."

Surprised? You shouldn't be.  The display market has been squeezed for years, and with thinning profit margins in the LCD monitor and television segments, there's no better place to be than a blossoming market in which competition is still scant and consumers are willing to pay a premium for a new technology. The e-reader market is that market for LG Display, and with the e-reader market expected to grow to more than $3 billion by 2013, it's easy to understand the reasoning. We already saw Amazon sell more e-books on Christmas Day than paper books, so we'd say the trend is firmly in place and on its way to reaching that goal.

Prime View is responsible for Sony's Reader and Amazon's Kindle, so these guys are no small beans. According to Young Soo Kwon, president and chief executive of LG Display: "The cooperation is expected to contribute significantly to our ability to take an early lead in our future growth business, the e-paper display market." He also noted that he expects rapid growth in the e-paper market, with Prime View boosting its share in the segment to 20% next year (from 15% currently).

Reportedly, the agreement will allow LG Display to have access to fringe-field switching technology, which "enables liquid crystal displays to be viewed under sunlight and improves their viewing angle." In exchange, LG Display will "provide consulting to Hydis on production efficiency and quality." Sounds like a win-win to us, but who knows how this will shake up the reader market. We're guessing it won't take long to find out.