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Exclusive: Japan Display to supply OLED screens for Apple Watch - sources

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By Reuters
Exclusive: Japan Display to supply OLED screens for Apple Watch - sources
FILE PHOTO: Japan Display Inc's logo is pictured at its headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, August 9, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo   -   Copyright  Kim Kyung Hoon(Reuters)

By Makiko Yamazaki and Yoshiyasu Shida

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan Display Inc will begin to supply organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screens for the Apple Watch later this year, two sources said, a breakthrough for the cash-strapped company whose late shift to OLED has cost it orders from Apple.

The supply deal would mark Japan Display’s foray into the OLED display market, the two sources familiar with the matter said, declining to be identified because they are not authorised to speak to the media.

A spokesman for Japan Display said he could not comment on specific customers.

Japan Display’s mainstay liquid crystal display (LCD) business has been slumping due to Apple Inc’s recent shift away from LCD, and disappointing sales of the iPhone XR, the only LCD model in Apple’s 2018 line-up.

The OLED display market is dominated by Samsung Electronics unit Samsung Display and LG Display. The newer OLED technology are generally thinner and allow more flexibility than LCD screens.

Japan Display, which gets more than half of its revenue from Apple, has a small OLED pilot line at a smartphone screen plant in eastern Japan.

It is seeking investment from a group that includes China Silkroad Investment Capital (CSIS), sources have told Reuters. The company has said it is seeking as much as $990 million in fresh financing.

Shares of Japan Display finished up 6.3 percent at 84 yen in Tokyo trade on Wednesday after climbing as much as 7.5 percent.

(Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki and Yoshiyasu Shida; Additional reporting by Ju-min Park in Seoul; Editing by David Dolan and Christopher Cushing)