China is expected to surpass Japan as the world’s third-biggest large-area LCD panel maker in the second quarter of this year, but will remain far behind market leaders South Korea and Taiwan, consulting firm DisplaySearch said.
China will produce 4.1 million units per month in the second quarter, while Japan’s shipments are expected to fall to 2.3 million units per month, a recently released DisplaySearch report forecast.
In the first quarter of this year year, both Chinese and Japanese makers produced about 3.3 million large-area TFT-LCD panels per month for netbook, tablet PC, notebook, monitor and TV applications, the report said.
“[South] Korean makers continue to be the leader in large-area TFT LCD production, accounting for approximately half of global output, followed by Taiwanese makers, which account for about 40 percent,” said Shawn Lee, senior analyst for DisplaySearch. “However, the likelihood that China will pass Japan may indicate the beginning of a phase in which China plays a more important role in the global flat panel display industry.”
DisplaySearch predicted that in the April-June period, South Korea would take 51.4 percent of the global large-area TFT-LCD panel market, followed by Taiwan (38.6 percent), China (6.4 percent) and Japan (3.5 percent).
With some Chinese companies such as BOE (京東方), ChinaStar (華星光電) and CEC-Panda (中電熊貓) ramping up sixth and eighth-generation fabs within the year, Chinese panel makers may begin to influence the “supply and demand balance, panel prices, panel road maps and value chain relationships,” the DisplaySearch report said.
Meanwhile, Japanese manufacturers are starting to look for alternatives to sustain their TFT-LCD businesses, such as “outsourcing, technology licensing, a shift to small and medium-size businesses, as well as joint ventures, mergers and consolidations.”
According to DisplaySearch, global panel makers have a combined production target of 775 million units this year, including 222 million monitor panels, 242 million TV panels, 106 million netbook and tablet PC panels and 197 million notebook panels.
If demand is not as strong as the panel producers expect, they will adjust their production strategies and pull back on increases in panel manufacturing volume, the research firm said.
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