In a tactical gambit, Chimei Innolux Corp (奇美電子), the nation’s top LCD panel maker, is stepping up its efforts to develop new TV panel sizes in hopes that such niche products would help it break even in the current quarter, a local market researcher said yesterday.
Chimei Innolux’s moves came after its 39-inch and 50-inch LCD TV panels gained popularity in China and helped reduced the impact of price declines amid an industrial slump last quarter.
Samsung Electronics Co is among 13 companies that have bought Chimei Innolux’s 39-inch TV panels to meet demand from China, the world’s biggest TV market.
Chimei Innolux “is shifting to a profit-oriented strategy in an attempt to break even in the second quarter and to return to profitability in the second half,” TrendForce Corp (集邦科技) analyst Burrell Liu (劉陳宏) said in a report released yesterday.
The panel maker posted its seventh straight quarterly loss with a deficit of NT$12.77 billion (US$431 million) in the first quarter — albeit an improvement from a loss of NT$13.8 billion a year ago and a loss of NT$20.31 billion in the fourth quarter of last year.
Chimei Innolux is expected to launch 58-inch LCD TV panels in the second half, vying for a bigger share of the 55-inch to 60-inch LCD TV panel markets, TrendForce said.
The panel maker is targeting Japanese and Chinese brands for those panels, TrendForce said, but added that it was not clear whether Chimei Innolux would be able to duplicate its success in creating demand for the new panel sizes.
Chimei Innolux is focusing on supplying customers with profitable 39-inch and 50-inch panels, while being selective in supplying lower-priced panels, in a bid to improve its financial situation in the short term, according to TrendForce.
Last month, the company remained the top panel supplier to China’s top six TV brands, but saw its market share fall slightly to 32.6 percent from 35.3 percent in March. The company shipped 1.32 million LCD TVs to Chinese brands such as TCL Group and Hisense Electric Co (海信).
AU Optronics Corp (友達光電), the nation’s No. 2 LCD panel maker, lost its second spot to LG Display Co in China’s market, with its market share slipping to 18.9 percent last month from 21.3 percent in March.
Yesterday, Trendforce cut its global LCD TV shipment forecast to 214.5 million units this year from its previous estimate of 216.5 million units, citing economic and political uncertainty in Europe and shrinking demand in Japan.