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New $1.4B Japan Display plant slated to open in 2016, likely dedicated to Apple

Component manufacturer Japan Display on Friday officially unveiled plans for a new $1.4 billion display plant in central Japan, with Apple reportedly investing in the facility to secure supplies of advanced LCD panels for its products.

The plant, to be built in the Ishikawa prefecture, will boost Japan Display's capacity by some 20 percent, as the company is attempting to secure a more significant relationship with Apple. Citing sources, Reuters reported on Friday that Apple would partially fund construction of the new factory in exchange for exclusive access to its output.

Word of a tie-up between Apple and the Japan Display consortium first surfaced last month. At the time, the cost of the plant was pegged at nearly $1.7 billion, with production lines designed for the manufacture of LTPS (low temperature polysilicon) panels.

Securing supplies of high-end displays has proven to be somewhat difficult for Apple as the company ships hundreds of millions of devices per year.

Japan Display competitor Innolux — owned by longtime Apple partner Foxconn — is believed to have invested some $2.6 billion into a new Apple-specific plant in Taiwan. That facility reportedly arose from "an urgent request for exclusive capacity."

Apple is also thought to have monopolized the output of Sharp's Kameyama plant No. 1. That facility was also recently retooled to manufacture LTPS-based displays.