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Samsung to pour $3.6B into OLED display tech

The company is working to diversify its business as smartphone sales continue to slump.

Samsung's Galaxy Note Edge includes an OLED display. CNET

Samsung is planning to invest $3.6 billion in the manufacturing of organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels.

The South Korean electronics giant will make mainly medium and small OLED displays, a Samsung spokesman told Reuters on Tuesday.

The $3.6 billion investment in the new product line will be made this year through 2017.

In addition, Samsung is expected to begin building a $15 billion chip plant in South Korea over the coming year.

According to analysts, it is likely the OLED display line is intended for curved screens such as those found on Samsung's 5.6-inch Galaxy Note Edge smartphone. Bloomberg reports that Samsung's upcoming flagship model, the next Galaxy smartphone, will come in two styles -- and one variant will be equipped with a dual curved-edge display that covers three sides.

Samsung has recently suffered a drop in smartphone sales, resulting in the need to explore fresh revenue streams and to diversify its business.

According to IDC's latest report on smartphone shipments and sales, Samsung is losing ground to rivals such as Apple. The research firm says Apple "just fell short" of taking over the South Korean firm's top spot in global smartphone shipments over the last quarter.

This week, Samsung formed an independent innovation group with the main aim of working on high-tech products and emerging technologies. The team, led by Samsung mobile chief Shin Jong-kyun, will develop technology in the virtual reality, robotics, 3D printing, robotic telepresence, drone and autonomous vehicle fields.

This story originally posted as "Samsung invests $3.6 billion in OLED technology" on ZDNet.