Sat, Mar 16, 2013 - Page 14 News List

Slower demand for LCD TVs sparks supply alert

BOOM OR BUST?Unlike panel suppliers, some TV brands have retained aggressive shipment plans for this year, in particular South Korean brands and Chinese manufacturers

By Kevin Chen  /  Staff reporter

Slowing demand for LCD TVs around the world has sparked a supply alert at flat-panel display makers and changed their business strategies this year, a research report said earlier this week.

Panel suppliers are becoming less aggressive amid signs of a misalignment in panel size portfolios between buyers and sellers, market researcher NPD DisplaySearch said in its latest quarterly report.

“Consumers are focused on TV prices, while brands have been focused on TV features. This disconnect has resulted in reduced demand and profits for TV supply chain participants in 2012,” DisplaySearch research director Deborah Yang (楊靜萍) said in a press release on Wednesday.

To avoid an oversupply of LCD TV panels, panel suppliers have either developed strategic alliances or adjusted capacity allocations, the report said.

Some panel makers have also worked to expand product portfolios to include large panels, hoping the larger screen business can help boost their bottom lines, the report said.

Based on DisplaySearch’s latest forecast, global shipments of LCD TV panels are set to grow 4.36 percent to 239.6 million units this year. That would be slower growth than the increase of 9.23 percent to 229.6 million units last year, the California-based researcher said.

Innolux Corp (群創光電), the nation’s top panel maker, will see its TV panel shipments contract by 5.91 percent this year to 43 million units, while AU Optronics Corp (友達光電), the nation’s second-largest panel maker, is set to increase shipments by 10.77 percent to 36 million units, DisplaySearch forecast.

Samsung Electronics Co, the world’s largest panel supplier, is expected to see TV panel shipments increase by 0.73 percent this year, while the world second-largest supplier, LG Display Co, would ship 6.69 percent fewer panels than last year, DisplaySearch forecast.

However, unlike panel suppliers, some TV brands have retained aggressive TV shipment plans for this year, in particular the top two South Korean TV brands and Chinese TV makers.

“Some TV brands’ 2013 shipment plans reflect their strategy to set higher targets and secure sufficient panel supply, but they may also be too aggressive,” Yang said in the press release.

Samsung, for instance, is expected to increase its LCD TV shipments 12.5 percent this year to 45 million units, while LG Electronics Inc expects to ship 13.38 percent more TVs this year at 30.5 million units, the researcher said.

As a result, global shipments of LCD TVs are predicted to hit 216.1 million units this year, an increase of 5.67 percent from last year, after shipments last year fell slightly by 0.24 percent from 2011, the report said.

Nonetheless, DisplaySearch said the TV supply chain is evolving, with Taiwanese panel makers leading the development of new panel sizes and ties with TV brands.

In addition, panel suppliers are looking to accelerate the development of 4K ultra-high-definition displays by strengthening their relationships with TV brands and adopting more aggressive manufacturing and sales efforts, the researcher said.

“To date, Innolux has been the most aggressive panel manufacturer in this market segment, developing a full lineup of 4Kx2K panels in the 39-inch to 85-inch range,” David Hsieh (謝勤益), DisplaySearch’s vice president for the Greater China market, said in a statement on Thursday.

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