AUO to be No. 2 in high-definition displays: report

CLEARER DOMINANCE::Although it is not set to unseat top LTPS display supplier Japan Display, AUO is poised to triple its market share as rival Innolux’s stake is halved

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Mar 13, 2014 - Page 14

AU Optronics Corp (AUO, 友達光電), the nation’s second-largest LCD panel maker, is poised to become the world’s No. 2 supplier of low-temperature polysilicon (LTPS) displays in 2016 due to increased capacity resulting from the launch of the company’s new plant in China, TrendForce Corp (集邦科技) said yesterday.

The capacity boost is likely to triple AUO’s share of the high-definition display market to 16 percent in the next four years, compared with the 5.6 percent stake it held last year, and surpassing LG Display Co’s 13.3 percent share and the 10.8 percent commanded by Sharp Corp, the Taipei-based researcher said.

Japan Display Inc is forecast to remain the world’s No. 1 LTPS display supplier in 2016, with a market share of 21.6 percent compared with 41 percent last year, TrendForce said in a report.

AUO is joining its peers in boosting capacity for high-definition and power-efficient LTPS displays as industry players shift their focus to producing advanced displays, rather than centering only on large TV screens, it added.

Rising demand for high-resolution displays for smartphones is another key factor driving panel makers to boost capacity for LTPS displays, the report said.

Global LTPS display production capacity is expected to surge to 14.89 million square meters in 2016, from 6.74 million square meters last year, the researcher said.

“In 2016, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea will become the world’s major LTPS display suppliers, ending the dominance Japan has exerted over the sector in the past few years,” TrendForce analyst Boyce Fan (范博毓) forecast.

“Since most [new] products will enter the market almost simultaneously, there will likely be oversupply concerns for the next two or three years,” Fan said.

In January, AUO said it planned to invest NT$50 billion (US$1.6 billion) in the construction of a 6G plant in China to produce high-resolution displays for smartphones and tablets. The company had originally proposed setting up an 8.5G plant on the site to produce large-size TV panels.

The new factory is expected to produce 30,000 sheets a month in early 2016, the Hsinchu-based panel maker told investors in January.

In its report, TrendForce also said that since AUO rival Innolux Corp (群創光電), the nation’s biggest LCD panel maker, bucked the LTPS manufacturing investment trend, it could see its share of the market drop to 3 percent in 2016 from last year’s 6.6 percent.

The researcher added that Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密), Innolux’s major shareholder, plans to increase its LTPS display capacity in China via a panel manufacturing subsidiary in Chengdu in Sichuan Province, adding that Innolux does not operate any factories across the Taiwan Strait.

Another research house, NPD DisplaySearch, said in January that LTPS displays are a good choice for mobile phones with screens that have a resolution of more than 300 pixels per inch.

NPD DisplaySearch expects that about 33 percent of mobile phones will be equipped with LTPS displays in 2020, up from 19 percent last year.

Because they possess high-definition and energy-saving features, LTPS displays are used primarily in smartphones, but Samsung Electronics Co in January showcased a new Galaxy tablet equipped with an LTPS display at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.