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Tired of waiting, Samsung Display throws numbers at India OLED factory

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Last updated: November 5th, 2020 at 17:56 UTC+02:00

Even if that old saying about patience being a virtue was true, no piece of folk wisdom really tackles the merits of staying true to a deliberate business strategy amid something as unpredictable as a global pandemic. Maybe Samsung comes up with one such adage once all this coronavirus craziness is over, but for the time being, the South Korean giant decided to seize some extra agency in an effort to deal with one of its stagnating construction projects.

The issue at hand is a new OLED panel factory that Samsung Display has been building in Noida since early this year. And as some of you might recall, “early this year” turned out to be a pretty bad time to start developing anything besides an acute case of agoraphobia. Least of all a mobile display module factory valued at half a billion U.S. dollars.

Samsung’s Noida project is a textbook example of how time equals money

What’s done is done, however, and Samsung still has an OLED plant that it needs to have up and running faster than you can say “government subsidies and other incentives for local manufacturers.” But amid the lockdowns affecting the Gautam Buddh Nagar district in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, Samsung’s project hasn’t really been making tremendous progress.

So, the longer Samsung takes to get this smartphone screen factory up and running, the more money it loses. At least that’s how any management with some clue of what they are doing would perceive the issue. Especially since the aforementioned investment figure was already greenlit, so Samsung Display’s leadership also has $500 million worth of opportunity costs to answer for.

This is why it has now decided to send some hundred more employees to Noida in an effort to get the project back on track. The group will depart Saturday, undergo COVID-19 testing in New Delhi and proceed to the construction site after a safety quarantine period. Samsung is still hoping to have the plant operational by mid-2021.

The factory should allow it to not just reduce the cost of smartphones it sells locally, but also improve its logistical flexibility to the point that it can iterate more frequently and put out consumer goods even faster. In other words, the Noida plant is likely to eventually pave the way for even more Galaxy smartphones and tablets with a wide array of India-specific selling points being released on a regular basis.

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