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Panel makers huge financial losses triggers another component price war, says WitsView

3 February 2009 Display

Taipei, February 1, 2009---As panel makers gradually disclose their 4Q08 financial results, it is seen that even the first tier players have started to post huge financial losses. Obtaining further material costdown has become one of the most efficient ways to improve businesses. According to WitsView, the component price war is expected to be exceptionally intense this quarter.
Due to the rapid and severe market demand slowdown, not only have glass substrate makers conducted large-scale plant maintenance, they have also been forced to make larger price concessions. The quarterly price drop is expected to hit 5 to 7% in 1Q09.
For color filters, the current low utilization rates have prompted panel makers to focus on consuming their in-house supply. This has made it even more difficult for some professional color filter makers to secure orders, thus spurring them to further reduce their color filter prices. General speaking, the price drop for this quarter is above 10%.
For polarizers, in the monitor segment, although 16:9 models are gaining popularity, the unfavorable margin is weighing on its production volume and will result in a smaller polarizer price drop--roughly the same level as traditional 5:4 or 16:10 models. The drop in the NB sector will be more moderate than in 4Q08. As for the TV portion, since panel makers continue to demand more price cuts, the drop for the mainstream sizes will be 8~12%.
The driver IC segment currently faces inventory problems. In addition, their customized design makes them uneasy to be shared among different customers, rendering it to become an arguing point for buyers to ask for price cuts. The price cut of mainstream source IC will be 8 to 10%. Due to the weak demand of the market and the gateless design trend, the demand for gate IC continues to decrease. Needless to say, the price modification is very obvious.
Given the more than 35% price decline for 2008, LED BLU has prompted most panel makers and brand vendors to begin developing or adopting such light sources for its NBs. Their main objective for this year is to further narrow the price gap with the CCFL BLU, and stimulate the end product demand. A minimal 10% price decline will be seen in 1Q09. The price cut of monitor and TV BLU is approximately 10 to 15%. The backlight designs of TV are also moving to a more low-cost structure. Finally, despite the ongoing power-saving green panel trend, which received much attention last year, the “low-cost” drive will render its demand to be relatively moderate for the time being.

3Q08 TFT-LCD Key Component ASP Change (%)
1Q09 (E)
Glass Substrate
Color Filter
Driver IC
Backlight Unit

About WitsView

Founded in the year 2004, WitsView, a subsidiary brand of DRAMeXchange, is composed of a team of TFT-LCD industry experts. The research field covers the development and market trend of upstream components, mid stream panels and downstream system integrators and retailers.
For more about WitsView, please visit

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