Tag: flat panels

China set to take lead in flat panels

LG Display's AIT panelA report said that Chinese manufacturers will dominate the manufacture of flat panel display by 2018.

IHS Technology said that Chinese capacity for flat panels has and is growing at 40 percent a year up to 2018.

The situation is quite different for other manufacturers in Taiwan, Japan and South Korea, which currently dominate the market. IHS estimates that growth between 2010 and 2018 is less than two percent a year.

By 2018, Chinese manufacturers will account for 35 percent of the global market, from its 2010 position of two percent.

The flat panel LCD market is rapidly becoming commoditised and it is expensive to keep ahead on new technology.

Charles Annis, a senior director at IHS, said: “Despite growing concerns of oversupply for the next several years in most parts of the display indistry, there is still little evidence that Chinese makers are scaling back their ambitious expansion plans. On the contrary, there continues to be a steady stream of announcements of new factory plans by various regional governments and panel makers.

This chart shows the leaders in 2010 and IHS projections for 2018.

flat panel 2010 to 2018

Flat panel makers switch direction

Samsung LCDAs we reported earlier today, notebook sales are not hitting vendors’ expectations and that news is borne out by a market research briefing from Taiwanese company Trendforce.

It said that while shipments in August of notebook display panels grew by 21 percent compared to July, demand is still weak and there’s heaps of inventory sitting in warehouses worldwide.

Trendfore estimates that 41.74 million notebook display panels will ship in this, the third quarter, and that’s a four percent drop compared to the second quarter.

The third quarter was the boom time for notebook and PC sales, until recent years.

The manufacturers of flat panels are now concentrating on high value products rather than vlime shipments, according to Trendforce.

LG Display and Samsung – the leading South Korean vendors – will concentrate on wide view angle products – with between 25 and 30 percent of shipments using this format.

Trendforce also expects there will be demand for wide view angle displays from so called 2-in-1 devices.

Resolutions are now moving to Full HD and above but margins on these products are “razor thin” because of competition and price cutting.

Trendforce believes that panels will Full HD or above will represent 20 percent of shipments during 2015 with those figures set to grow next year.

Flat panel shipments hit

Dell TabletSales of Taiwanese manufactured TFT LCD screens amounted to 60 million in the first quarter of this year, but that’s down marginally over three percent compared to the same quarter last year.

Digitimes Research (DR) said that of the four sectors it watches – TVs, monitors, notebook and tablets only the first showed positive growth – up 13.5 percent year on year.

Korean flat screen manufacturers LG Display and Samsung both opened next generation fabrication plants in the quarter and concentrated on switching production in the old fabs to churn out TVs and monitors.

But demand for notebook panels and monitors was weak in the first quarter, with DR reporting that Taiwanese manufacturers saw a nine percent sequential decline during the quarter.

Tablet panels fared worse – shipments for these gadgets fell 17.5 sequentially, said the research company.

Foxconn and Sharp ally to counter Korean flat panel hegemony

A report from Japanese wire Nikkei said that flat panel giant Sharp and ODM giant Foxconn have formed a joint venture partly aimed at keeping Korean manufacturers of  LCD glass out in the cold.

Foxconn owns Chimei Innolux, a manufacturer of LCD panels and under the terms of the JV, it and Sharp will each hold 50 percent of the company.

The aim is to drive down costs and to this end the JV will mean cheaper glass substrates and other components. Sharp will provide big panels while Chimei will supply smaller panels.

Samsung and LG – both South Korean companies – are major competitors to Sharp and to other Taiwanese LCD TFT manufacturers. There’s still a lot of growth in the market, particularly so in China and in India.

Being able to secure substrates more economically will give the Sharp-Foxconn JV an extra couple of points on their margins.

248 million TVs shipped in 2010

Total TV shipments grew worldwide by 18 percent year on year in 2010, rising to 248 million units.

Flat panels grew 32 percent in 2010 by units. However, along with the industry in general, the growth will lessen to 12 percent for all of 2011. The total TV shipment growth will see less than four percent year on year in 2011 because, according to Displaysearch, “slower price erosion cools demand in developed markets.”

Emerging markets will be the top growth drivers because there is a low level of penetration for flat panel TVs in the household. But in Western Europe, North America and Japan where the penetration is high at about 60 percent, the growth rate has to slow down.

The top TV for 2010 is LCDs, and will account for roughly 84 percent of all shipments in 2011. CRT TVs continue to die a death, and will be replaced by LCDs worldwide. We can expect a 13 percent increase on shipments for LCDs in 2011, up from 192 million last year to 217 million this year.

Of LCD TVs, backlights will take the lion’s share, making up 50 percent of those shipped during 2011 and finding a place in a larger number of screen sizes, particularly in the high end, 40″ plus territory. Similarly for those high performance tellies, 120Hz and higher refresh rates will make up 60 percent of TVs with 40″ plus screen sizes.

3D TVs will achieve high penetration, says DisplaySearch, simply because they will ship as default. While 3D made up only 10 percent of Q4 2010 TV revenues at 2 million units, by 2014 it should rise to 50 percent of revenues and 100 million units worldwide.

Plasma TV enjoyed a surprising comeback, with shipment growth up from -1.5 percent in 2009 up to 30 percent in 2010. That’s because people were after a bargain. But it won’t last, with DisplaySearch expecting growth to “slow considerably” for the first quarter 2011 and decline again in the second half. 

Large flat panel shipments fell in June

Shipments of large TFT LCD flat panels fell in June 2010 by 2.1 percent as manufacturers took steps to prepare for the second half of the year.

According to market research company Displaybank, shipments amounted to 57.20 million units with revenues amounting to $6.96 billion. But even though there was a decline in shipments, Displaybank said that LCD TV shipments rose 1.7 percent to amount to 17.56 million units.

That’s a record shipment of LCD TV units. At the same time LCD monitors amounted to 17.97 million units, while notebooks dropped by 3.3 percent, month on month to 20.70 million units. The following graph, courtesy of Displaybank, shows the monthly trends in the market.

Displaybank June figures

In geographical terms, South Korea had 47.6 percent market share, followed by Taiwan with 41.3 percent share.

LG Display held the pole position at 24.8 percent market share, followed by Samsung – yet the latter was the leader in terms of revenue.

Senior analyst Ricky Park said the declines on both price and shipments was prompted primarily by TV manufacturers operating a stable inventory strategy and concerns about the economy slowing down in the second half of this year.

More AMOLED panels come to pass

Giant Taiwanese flat panel fabricator AU Optronics is set to mass produce active matrix organic light emitting diode (AMOLED) pane;s later this year.

According to the Taiwan Economic News, the move follows the acquisition by AUO of a JV between a Singapore Matushita subsidiary and Toshiba.

That technology means that AUO can make substrates for AMOLEDs using low temperature polysilicon.

Initially, the AUO fabs will turn out small to medium sized panels aimed at the smartphone market.  Displays on AMOLEDs are typically brighter and clearer than standard TFT-LCDs.

AUO isn’t the only company to make the displays – it will face competition from Samsung, LG Display, and other players in the field. The Economic News is here.

AU Optronics taken to the cleaners

AU Optronics, its American subsidiary and six of its executives have been indicted in the US for taking part in a cunning scheme to fix prices on LCD display panels.

According to the US Justice Department, the indictments are just the latest move in an continuing antitrust investigation into the LCD market

It looks like the rot went all the way to the top.  Amongst those facing charges are top AU Optronics executives and the outfit’s president, Lai-Juh Chen.

According to papers shown to the court AU Optronics participated in a world-wide LCD price-fixing conspiracy from 2001 to 2006, by which time the market for LCD panels was $70 billion.

Apple, Dell, and HP  were all hit by the price fixing scam, the DoJ said.  It is not clear how much cash they had to pay because of the scam.

Prosecutors alleged that AU Optronics officials would meet up with competing LCD makers at hotels, restaurants and cafes in Taipei.  Over a couple of drinks, perhaps a dancing girl or two, they would fix LCD prices and monitor and enforce them.

Information on LCD production, shipping, supply and demand was shared at those meetings, prosecutors alleged.

Apparently companies involved in the meetings became increasingly worried about being caught by their customers.  They decided it would be a good idea to quit meeting in groups and instead instructed their lower-level employees to conduct the information exchanges.

Employees at the company’s US based subsidiary in Houston were told to discuss and confirm pricing arrangements with other LCD makers in the Land of the Free.

Six other companies have pleaded guilty to fixing prices and have paid criminal fines totalling more than $860 million.These include LG Display, Sharp, Chunghwa Picture Tubes, Seiko Epson, Hitachi and Chi Mei Optoelectronics.

More than 17 executives from LCD companies have been charged in the investigation. The first charges in the case were announced in 2008.

AU Optronics, based in the Hsinchu science park in Taiwan said that it will defend itself against the charges. It issued this statement: ” AUO has cooperated with the DOJ and other authorities in their investigations of the TFT-LCD industry since they began in December of 2006 and is disappointed with the DOJ’s action today.

“When institutions are confronted with allegations of wrongdoing, it is tempting to look for someone to blame, even its own managers or employees. Regardless of what others may do, that is not the way AUO does business and is not the path it chooses now.

“AUO believes the facts of the case do not warrant such charges, as shown, among others, by the intense competition within the industry which has benefited consumers as shown by the steep decline in prices over the years for TFT-LCD panels.”