A report today from Japan-based Asahi claims Apple plans to invest millions in LCD panel supplier Japan Display Inc (JDI) to aid its restructuring, after the firm's bailout plan fell through on the withdrawal of a key backer.
According to Asahi, JDI is set to receive a $100 million investment from Apple, news that has sent the panel maker's shares up as much as 32 percent in Tokyo.
As part of the investment, Apple will also reportedly increase LCD panel orders from JDI at the expense of some of its orders from China.
News of Apple's intentions come at a crucial time for the ailing LCD panel supplier, which had been waiting on a proposed investment of $230 million from Taiwan's TPK Holding to cover its losses, before the proposal was withdrawn last week.
Financial firm CGL Group also dropped its investment plans earlier this month, leaving JDI unsure whether other members in the Chinese-Taiwanese consortium would follow through with their own bailout proposals.
JDI relies on Apple for more than half of its sales, but its mainstay LCD business has been hit heavily by less-than-stellar sales of the iPhone XR and the growing adoption of OLED panel technology.
That has left the supplier scrambling to invest in OLED production to turn around its business, which saw a $2.3 billion loss in 2018.
A report in April claimed JDI would supply the OLED screens for this year's new Apple Watch model.
If the firm can stay afloat it could potentially do the same for future iPhones, which would help Apple diversify its supply chain and allow the tech giant to reduce its heavy reliance on Samsung for the newer OLED display tech.