According to WitsView, the display research division of the global intelligence provider TrendForce, as major panel makers started to boost the LTPS capacity in 2013 and added the Gen 5.5 and Gen 6 for mass-production, the overall LTPS capacity will rise from 6.74Mn m2 in 2013 to 14.89Mn m2 in 2016. The capacity by area is expected to more than double within three years.
WitsView indicates, with the competition among China’s large-generation capacities incandescing and the demand for large-sized products easing, panel makers devote more resources to higher-technology LTPS to meet the constantly rising demand for mobile devices for recent years.
For the last few years, Japanese panel makers have led ahead of its rivals on the LTPS technology and capacity with JDI becoming the world’s No.1 maker on the LTPS capacity as its Gen 6 started MP in 2013, supporting makers of the nation to control 41% of the global capacity by area. (SDC’s LTPS capacity used for AMOLED products is excluded)
Meanwhile, LGD has begun to expand the Gen 6 LTPS capacity, AUO has announced to shift its Kunshan investment plan from Gen 8.5 to Gen 6 LTPS, and Tianyi of Hon-hai group has reactivated the Gen 6 investment in Chengdu.
It is projected that in 2016 the LTPS capacity market will be shifting to a domain shared by panel makers from Taiwan, Japan, Korea, and China from a segment dominated by Japanese makers. AUO, with its expansion in the Gen 6 capacity, is likely to see the capacity area share jump to 16%, only second to JDI’s 21.6%. CSOT and LGD will see the shares growing to 13.5% and 13.1% respectively.
“It is an undeniable fact that panel makers of all regions focus on the demand for high-end products and aggressively work on the LTPS capacity expansion,” WitsView research manager Boyce Fan says. ”However, the new capacity getting ready within these two or three years causes the aggravating concern of oversupply.”
As the growth of high-end smart phones eases, if the technology development on AMOLED products would terminate Samsung’s dominance remains to be tested, and it suggests panel makers’ keys to make the LTPS capacity profitable in the future rely on the technology gaps, product yield, costs, and product pricing. What can be foreseen is that with the rapidly growing expansion, panel makers’ competition in the future will get fierce, and those who secure the leader position on clients and production ability and scale will gain evident advantages.
Graph 1: 2013~2016(F) Forecast for Global LTPS Capacity by Area
Graph 2: 2013&2016(F) Global Major Panel Makers’ LTPS Capacity Shares