Mon, Sep 16, 2013 - Page 13 News List

Chinese demand boosts shipments of flat panels

‘VITAL MOMENT’:The upcoming shopping season will test consumer demand for ultra-resolution TV sets, for which Taiwanese firms produce about 80% of the panels

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Global shipments of PC and TV flat panels grew 11 percent sequentially last month as inventory buildup demand ahead of holiday shopping season in China and Western countries lifted TV panel shipments, market researcher TrendForce Corp (集邦科技) said.

Shipments of PC and TV panels expanded to 70.11 million units last month from July’s 63.2 million units, according to the tally of WitsView, a display unit of TrendForce, released on Friday.

TV panel shipment increased 5.8 percent month-on-month to 19.31 million units, which outpaced TrendForce’s earlier estimate of 1 percent growth.

Strong demand for ultra-high resolution, or 4K2K, LCD TV panels, primarily from Chinese TV vendors, has boosted shipments also gave a boost to the overall TV panel shipment, WitsView said.

Shipments of 4K2K TV panels leapt 47 percent to 380,000 units last month, according to WitsView. The growth brought the total shipment of 4K2K TV panels to 1.22 million units in the first eight months of this year.

“Demand from Chinese TV brands increased sharply,” WitsView analyst Jeffy Chen (陳建安) said in a report.

In the first half of this year, Japanese TV brands, such as Toshiba and Sony, have used 4K2K panels in their premium TV sets with big screen sizes, such as 55 inches, 65 inches or 85 inches.

Chinese TV makers then extended such ultra-high resolution panels to smaller TV sets at affordable prices, Chen said.

“The upcoming shopping season beginning next month will be a vital moment, testing consumer’s acceptance of 4K2K TV sets,” Chen said.

Chinese TV maker Konka Group Co (康佳) has unveiled a 39-inch TV set with an attractive price tag of 3,333 yuan per unit (US$545), which has created a stir in China’s TV manufacturing sector, he said.

China’s top five TV brands, including TCL and Skyworth (創惟), are expected to roll out more 39-inch 4K2K TV sets, 42-inch and 50-inch 4K2K TV sets later this year in an attempt to entice more customers to buy their TVs during the holiday shopping season next month, he said.

Taiwan’s top LCD panel maker, Innolux Corp (群創光電), seized 55 percent of the 4K2K TV panel shipment last month because the company led its peers in developing 4K2K screens before next-generation OLED technology became affordable, according to WitsView.

Innolux president Wang Jyh-chau (王志超) told investors in last month that he was confident that 4K2K TVs would become mainstream, considering robust sales of such ultra-high-resolution TVs.

The Miaoli-based panel maker aimed to expand its market share to 70 percent by the end of this year as it expected the prices of 4K2K TV sets would drop to the “sweet point” of 1.3 times that of high-resolution LCD TV sets.

Innolux expected 4K2K TV panel shipments to grow to up to 10 percent of its total TV panel shipment this quarter, compared with 5 percent last quarter, when 4K2K TV panels first hit the market on a large scale.

Including AU Optronics Corp’s (AUO, 友達光電) 15-percent share, Taiwanese panel makers hold about 80 percent of 4K2K TV panel market, according to WitsView’s statistics.

Shares of Innolux and AUO slid 0.71 percent and 0.87 percent to NT$13.9 and NT$11.4 respectively, under-performing the TAIEX, which dropped 0.31 percent on Saturday.

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