Tag: lcd panels

Large LCD display shipments fall

Samsung LCDImport tariffs on large displays is discouraging people from buying big TFT LCD displays. Currency fluctuations have also had an effect on the figures.

IHS Technology said in a report that shipments will fall by about five percent for the whole of 2015.

However, the decline in shipments will be offset by the manufacturers by growth in the amount of panels that can be built – that will grow by five percent in 2015.

IHS said that year on year shipments of displays for tablets, notebook PCs, and PC monitors will fall by 12 percent in 2015.

Yoonsung Chung, a senior analyst at IHS, said that maintaining TV panel production is the most important to use the full capacity of the fabrication plants that build the panels.

He said: “To consume this added capacity, TV panel makers must produce more panels, whch means the industry could end up adding excess panels to inventory, leading to sharp TV panel price erosion in the second half of this year.”

He said prices are also likely to fall in 2016, meaning the cost of 55-inch and bigger TVs will fall – and that may stimulate demand.

Oversupply causes flat panel pangs

Samsung LCDA combination of declining prices and oversupply of LCD TVflat panels is causing many manufacturers to rethink their strategy and to revise their buying tactics.

The problem is largely caused by a a lack of demand in the important Chinese market, with a number of major manufacturers including Samsung, LG Display, BEO, AU Optronics and Innolux to change their plans.

According IHS senior analyst Nick Jiang: “Panel inventory adjustment and stagnant sell through have caused TV makers in China to become more conservative in their panel purposes.”

He said that the conservative approach this year is a “major shift” from an aggressive market in 2014.

That, in turn, has caused the manufacturers of display makers to be left with too much stock. That will likely mean panel prices will fall further at the end of the year.

Data showed that in the first half of this year, panel manufacturers shipped close to 30 million TV display panels to Chinese TV makers, representing a 15 percent year on year growth.

However that all changed in the third quarter with manufacturers shipping 15 million panels, a 16 percent year on year decline. The same trend is likely to continue in this, the fourth quarter, Jiang said.

Warehouses full of LCD TV panels

Samsung LCDOverproduction coupled with lack of demand for LCD TVs could well lead to prices being slashed after this year.

IHS Technology, which tracks the LCD panel market, said that the manufacturers didn’t cut down on output during the second quarter of this year, meaning that by end of this week they’ll have inventories of nearly five weeks.

That could well lead to further decreases in panel prices, said IHS.

Ricky Park, who manages the display tracking at IHS, said: “TV manufacturers purchased too many TV panels in the first half of 2015, anticipating greater consumer demand in the second half of the year. However, due to stagnant growth in the LCD TV market, TV manufacturers are likely to reduce their panel purchases in the second half.”

However, panel makers in China have aggressive production schedules of new generation fabs while some fabrication plants in South Korea and Taiwan have been fully depreciated, said Park, which further lower costs.

Park said: “Increased inventory levels are expected to compel panel makers to accept TV manufacturers’ demands to cut prices.”

TV prices to fall

Statue of John Logie Board, Wikimedia CommonsIf you’re thinking of buying an LCD TV in this quarter or in the third quarter you can expect to pay less.

That’s according to a survey from market research company IHS which said that there’s oversupply of the LCD panels in this quarter and in the third quarter which means you can expect to pay less for units.

Average selling prices for 32-inch, 40-inch and 55-inch LCD TV panels have fallen since March 2015.

Last year it was very different because there was a surge of demand for larger size models.

But while some territories can expect prices to fall, other areas including Eastern Europe, Russia and South America will see TVs costing more because of currency fluctuations.

Alex Kang, a senior analyst at IHS Technology, said that the industry is worried about a potential oversupply this year. “TV set makers are considering lowering TV sales targets and downsizing orders for panels amid sluggish consumer sales caused by foreign exchange volatility.”

LG hit with €210 million fine

LG headquartersThe European Court of Justice said that LG Display had to cough up €210 million in fines, after it upheld the penalty for engaging in an illegal cartel.

The cartel operated between 2001 and 2006 and involved a number of manufacturers of flat panel displays.

LG Display managed to secure a reduction of €5 million last year, but today’s decision means that it’s run out of appeal road.

Samsung, which was part of the illegal cartel, escaped punishment because it blew the whistle on the existence of the plot.

LG, a Korean company which formerly traded under the name Lucky Goldstar, colluded with the other panel makers on pricing so reducing the ability of people buying their panels to do deals.

4K displays come to handhelds

Dell TabletA report from IHS said that 4K displays, formerly a feature of high end LCD TVs, is about to hit the mainstream.

IHS said the value of the market hit $9.2 billion in 2014 but that’s rapidly going to change in 2015, with 4K revenues amounting to $18 billion – a 94 percent increase.

And by 2020, because of better yields and lower costs, the 4K market will be worth $52 billion by 2020.

IHS expects to see 4K displays appearing on all sorts of devices including desktop monitors, notebook PCs, OLED TVs, digital signs, smartphones and tablet PCs.

Manufacturers of the LCD panels intend to ship 40 million this year – that’s close to 17 percent of all LCD panel shipments.

Panel manufacturers including Sharp and JDI have announced smartphone panels and 4K displays for tablets.

Swipe, dash and don’t crash

De Lorean carIn many ways it seems that the motor industry is beginning to drive technology faster than conventional IT.

Earlier today we reported that one day, not too far away, all cars will be connected. And now, another research organisation, IHS, is reporting that car touch panel revenues are likely to amount to $1.5 billion by 2018.

This is good news for the panel manufacturers, because IHS estimates the compound annual frowth rate (CAGR) for touch panel shipments will average 18 percent from this year to 2018, yielding a not inconsiderable $1.5 billion.

IHS said that analogue touch was the flavour of the day because the auto manufacturers like mature technologies. And while resistive touch for dashboards will continue, touch screens – familiar to us through smartphones and tablets, are beginning to become standard in many vehicles.

Adoption will begin to take off during this year, using projective capacitive touch (PCT) technology – some vendors will carry on with their old ways because of cost.

Because panels for cars are often required to be irregular shapes, that’s going to push manufacturers of the panels to speed up work on devising this kind of technology.

HannStar exec gets thrown in the clink

The president of HannStar has been indicted by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Ding Hui Joe becomes the 22nd executive to be charged in the US following an ongoing investigation in LCD price fixing. He’s been charged with conspiring to eliminate competition by fixing prices of TFT-LCD panels, which are used in monitors, netbooks, TVs and mobile phones from September 2001 to early 2006.

Joe will have to give up a maximum of 10 years of his life in the clink. However if he gets a lesser sentence he might not be able to do much as he may also have to pay a $1 million fine.

HannStar, which agreed last year to plead guilty to charges of price fixing and pay a $30 million criminal fine, is of course not the only company in the frame.

Back in April sales exec for Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp was also thrown in prison for the same crimes.

Samsung, LG, AU Optronics, Chimei InnoLux and Chunghwa Picture Tubes were also fined by the EU for the same issues in December. However, Samsung got less of a fine because it grassed up the rest of its technology mates.

China's rare earth embargo will increase tech prices

The decision by China to limit the production of rare earth materials will lead to a dramatic rise in prices of technology devices over the next few years, a report released today warned.

China’s recent decision was presented as a move to streamline production with a view to reducing pollution, and nothing to do with the fact that the country has a near monopoly on rare earths.

According to Robert Castellano, president of The Information Network, prices will increase until “non-Chinese rare earth mines are up and running, increasing product availability and thereby decreasing prices.”

“During the past 20 years there has been an explosion in demand for many items that require rare earth metals,” said Castellano. “China capitalized on its rich rare earth deposits and cheap labour to drive down prices to a point that nearly every mine outside China was forced to shut down because they couldn’t compete on price.”

It is noted that in the past year prices have already risen considerably. Prices for Ceria, a rare metal used in the manufacturing of semiconductors as well as LCD panels and high brightness LEDs, have risen by 1,000 percent already in the past year. Ceria is also used in polishing glass disks for hard drives.

Another rare earth element used as a phosphor in cold cathode fluorescent lamps in laptop back lights and plasma display TVs, Europium, saw its price jump by 170 percent last year, while Neodymium, used in magnets for hard disk drives and hybrid electric vehicles, has seen its value rocket by 420 percent, writes Cnet.

However, according to Castellano, prices will eventually level out as capacity increases for rare earth production in other countries.

“We estimate that the Chinese held 90 percent of capacity of rare earth oxides with 103,300 tonnes, but its share will drop to 67.2 percent in 2014 based on output of new mines coming on stream.  China’s capacity will only increase 10.4 percent to 114,000 tonnes between 2010 and 2014, whereas non-Chinese capacity will increase nearly five-fold, from 11,500 to 55,800 tonnes,” wrote Castellano.

So it was with truly impeccable timing yesterday that South Korea announced plans to begin producing its own rare earth resources after stumbling across huge reserves, prompting something of a gold rush.

According to an official at Korea Resources Corporation, the find was made during the redevelopment of a closed ore mine in Yangyang, Gangwon Province. “We decided to begin full commercial mining in 2012,” he said.

Due to a hike in the price of iron ore in recent months, the Korea Resources Corporation decided to redevelop the mine and found deposits of Lanthanum and Cerium, writes Chosunilbo.

Dr. Sung Yoo-hyun of the corporation’s research institute said that the resources found were of low quality, though it is considered likely that they will find higher quality metals once exploration begins.

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.”