China Makes Headway in LCDs

As Japanese and South Korean display manufacturers consolidate operations to increase profitability, Chinese display makers are expanding their reach into the large-sized LCD market.

In the first quarter of 2012, IHS reports, Beijing Optoelectronics Technology Co. Ltd. (BOE) of China achieved shipment growth of 18.6 percent in panels sized 32-inches or larger, the best performance among the Top 10 LCD suppliers. Infovision Optoelectronics Co. Ltd. (IVO), also of China, came in second at 18.3 percent growth.

In a press release, IHS goes on to say:

    However, it was two newer Chinese entrants that were not ranked among the Top 10 that saw the most explosive growth in the first quarter. CEC achieved a 63.5 percent expansion, while China Star Optoelectronics Technology more than doubled its shipments with a 103.3 percent increase, by far the largest growth in the market…

    While the Chinese were foremost in terms of growth, the South Korean suppliers—LG Display Co. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.—continued to lead overall market share in the large-sized LCD panel business. Together the two South Korean electronic titans dwarfed all other players in the first quarter, accounting for 50.9 percent—slightly more than half—of global shipments for large-sized LCD shipments. In contrast to the commanding authority of the South Koreans, the remaining 49.1 percent of the market was held by a gaggle of 15 players—six from Japan, five from China and four from Taiwan. The Taiwanese, despite having fewer players, held larger shares individually and collectively than their Chinese and Japanese rivals.

Chinese display makers are ramping up production even as foreign rivals consolidate. Samsung recently spun off its LCD business into a wholly owned subsidiary to focus on the development of next-generation OLED displays; and the government of Japan backed an LCD joint venture comprising Sony, Toshiba, and Hitachi.

Sweta Dash, senior director for liquid crystal displays at IHS, noted in the press release:

    Both BOE and China Star have new 8.5-generation fabs, which will allow them to compete with other suppliers that possess similar next-generation fabrication facilities, especially in the television market. The Chinese manufacturers also are benefiting from new tariffs levied by their government, which are creating challenges for their overseas competitors.

4 comments on “China Makes Headway in LCDs

  1. Daniel
    June 7, 2012

    Barbara, recently I had read an article in EE news that semiconductor industries in china are losing their edge over the competitors. Chinas low cost manpower is not an attracting factor and hence manufacturing sector are moving away from a low cost model and towards innovative models. So in such situation, how Chinese manufactures can competitive with the other players.

  2. Barbara Jorgensen
    June 7, 2012

    @Jacob: good question. I think the answer lies in the technology: LCDs are now an older technology and right now rely more on cost than differentiation to remain viable. In the semicondcutor industry, you have to be at the front of the development curve always or you will fall behind. Chips rely more on brainpower than manpower, so I agree the low-cost manufacturing is not an advantage in semiconductors. That's not to say there's any lack of brainpower in China; but I think investing in latest-generation fabs is still out of reach for indigenous China chip developers (as it is with smaller US chipmakers).

  3. Daniel
    June 13, 2012

    Barbara, again how many customers prefer for LCD. Now a day’s smart TVs with Android Operating systems are in front end and other technologies like LED & 3D based display systems are common. Even one of the biggest LCD manufactures Samsung had spinoff their LCD division.

  4. Barbara Jorgensen
    June 13, 2012

    LCDs are still the price leader in big screens. In China, there is still a lot of demand for larger LCD TVs, and LEDs are still pricey even by US standards.

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