Mon, Apr 13, 2009 - Page 12 News List

Taiwanese panel makers to gradually increase capacity

COMPETITION Sales of LCD panels are affected by a consumer trend toward buying low-cost netbooks to save money during the economic crisis

STAFF WRITER

Taiwanese makers of large-sized liquid-crystal-display (LCD) panels will gradually increase their capacity utilization rate this quarter in a bid to increase their inventory levels, and the competition is expected to further intensify in the third quarter after South Korean rivals run at full capacity, the Market Intelligence and Consulting Institute (MIC, 產業情報研究所) said last week.

The institute said that although the supply of large-sized LCDs outstripped demand in the first quarter, the actual supply-demand relationship did not deteriorate as panel makers have been keeping their capacity utilization rate below 35 percent in an effort to clean out idle inventories.

“Major panel makers at home and abroad will begin production on their next-generation production lines in the second half of this year, further challenging the relationship of supply to demand in the market,” MIC senior industry analyst Chou Shih-hsiung (周士雄) said in an interview with Central News Agency on Wednesday.

Aside from the first quarter being the traditional low season for the computer market, the demand for large-sized panels is also affected by the growing popularity of netbooks, as consumers are turning to lower-cost models that perform basic functions amid weak economic conditions, MIC said.

The Taipei-based institute forecast that the shipment of LCD monitors would drop by 3 percent this year from a year earlier. Looking ahead, MIC said panel makers would launch light-emitting diode (LED) backlight products and 16:9 panels to meet the demand for information technology-related products.

Sales of LCD TVs above 40 inches in size have become stagnant because the global economic outlook remains unclear, MIC said, adding that 32-inch LCD TVs would continue to be the most popular screen size.

MIC projected that the chances for the screen size of LCD TVs to grow this year were limited. The markets for 120Hz TVs and flat-panel TVs are worth paying attention to in the future, it said.

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