Wed, Jun 19, 2013 - Page 13 News List

Chinese TV makers ‘need local panels’

HIGH DEMAND:A Chinese video industry executive said although panel makers there are boosting production, Taiwanese panels are still needed to supply in demand

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

China Video Industry Association deputy director Bai Weimin examines a Hon Hai 70-inch ultra-high-definition LCD TV at the Display Taiwan trade show at the Taipei World Trade Center’s Nangang Exhibition Hall yesterday.

Photo: Chen Ping-hung, Taipei Times

Major TV brands in China will continue to buy flat panels from Taiwanese suppliers over the next two years on the back of short supply from Chinese panel makers, an executive said yesterday.

The remark ended speculation that this year would be the last trip to Taiwan by Chinese panel buyers, led by China Video Industry Association deputy director Bai Weimin (白為民), due to the fast-increasing production of Chinese flat-panel display manufacturers such as BOE Technology Group Co (京東方) and China Star Optoelectronics Technology Co (華星光電).

“I was just asked by reporters if I’m going to come to Taiwan next year and the year after [to buy panels], given that Chinese panel makers are growing their production rapidly,” Bai said during a speech at a smart-TV forum in Taipei. “I told them I believe I will.”

China would still have to import 45 percent of the TV panels needed for production in 2015, because Chinese panel makers would by then be making only 57 million square meters a year, which would satisfy in only 55 percent of Chinese TV makers’ demand for flat screens, based on the association’s forecast, Bai said.

“There are still opportunities,” Bai said.

Flat panels supplied by Chinese panel makers increased to 31 percent of those used in China-made LCD TVs, Bai said, adding that the country still needed to import 70 million units this year.

The Chinese LCD TV market would grow to 120 million units this year, the association forecast.

China’s top eight TV makers planned to buy 30 million TV panel units, worth more than US$4.5 billion, from Taiwanese partners, Bai said.

The association’s figures show they bought 28 million units last year.

Over the past five years, China’s top six TV brands, such as TCL and Hisense (海信), have spent US$18.2 billion on buying 103.8 million TV panels from Taiwanese panel makers, led by Innolux Corp (群創光電) and AU Optronics Corp (AUO, 友達光電), according to Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA, 貿協) statistics.

This year, Innolux and AUO grabbed 41 percent of China’s TV panel market share, down from 44 percent last year, according to market researcher DisplaySearch’s statistics.

Except for flat panels, Bai said Chinese TV makers should extend their partnership with local panel makers to TV chips and electronic components.

“Innolux, AUO and chipmakers Mstar Semiconductor Inc (晨星) and MediaTek Inc (聯發科) have made a massive contribution to the cooperation between Chinese TV makers and Taiwanese suppliers,” Bai said.

Mstar and MediaTek together supplied 90 percent of TV chips used by China’s major TV brands, on the back of the uptake of smart TVs that allow Internet access and ultra-high-definition LCD TVs, she said.

Yesterday, Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) showcased 70-inch ultra-high-definition LCD TVs during the display show.

However, Kay Chiu (邱創儀), a vice president of Hon Hai’s consumer electronics division, said the new model would not hit the market until next year, citing lack of ultra-high-definition content.

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