The latest large-size LCD panel shipment report by WitsView, a division of TrendForce, says a total of 22.73 million units of LCD TV panels were shipped in December 2015, down 0.02% from November and up 4.1% year on year. Iris Hu, WitsView assistant research manager, said that even though TV vendors had finished stocked up for the peak season, shipments remained strong throughout the fourth quarter due to high capacity utilization by panel makers and falling prices. Fourth-quarter TV panel shipments totaled 68.4 million units, down just 0.96% from the previous quarter. Among the large-size panel applications, the TV market had the best shipment performance for 2015, growing by 8.9% year on year to 269.8 million units in total. This significant increase in TV panel shipments was attributed to new Chinese Gen-8.5 fabs entering operation during the year and contributing to the supply.
LGD won back the title of top TV panel supplier for 2015 and Innolux took No. 2 in the worldwide ranking with its remarkable performance
Last year, LG Display (LGD) made the strategic decision to reduce its reliance on orders from its group company, LG Electronics (LGE), and instead committing to the long-term development of the Chinese market. This strategy paid off handsomely despite Chinese competitors putting up a formidable challenge. LGD retook the title of top TV panel supplier worldwide in 2015 by maintaining growth in its shipments, which went up by 6.4% year on year to 55.3 million units.
Innolux also had a stellar 2015 owing to the procurement of 23.6-inch TV panels by the Mexican government and its cost advantage in the manufacturing of the 39.5-inch TV panels. The increase in the production of 39.5-inch panels in turn helped the panel maker capture more market share. Innolux’s annual TV panel shipments for 2015 reached a record high of 51.73 million units, representing a 3.1% year-on-year growth. Innolux was able to overtake Samsung Display Corp. (SDC) to become the No. 2 supplier in the annual worldwide ranking for the first time.
SDC’s TV panel shipment performance suffered in 2015 as its group company Samsung Electronics sell-in shipments were lower than anticipated. With the sharp drop in procurement orders, SDC’s annual TV panel shipments retreated by 8% to 50.9 million units. After a hard struggle to become the world’s top TV panel supplier in 2014, SDC was forced to yield the title and moved down two spots to third place.
Shipments began to soar for major Chinese panel makers BOE Technology (BOE) in March last year, when its new Gen-8.5 fab in Chongqing entered operation. In addition to its overwhelming capacity advantage, BOE has also been receiving government subsidies. Hence, it was able to step up its shipments through 2015 even as prices of TV panels were plummeting. BOE saw an explosive annual growth of 148.5% for its 2015 shipments of TV panels, and it held its position firmly as the fourth-largest TV panel supplier in the annual ranking.
AU Optronics (AUO) had made the decision to reduce the share of panels under 40 inches in its shipments and focus on developing high-margin products, such as UHD panels and 55- and 65-inch panels. As a result, its TV panel shipments for 2015 totaled just 27.18 million units, down 5.6% year on year.
China Star Optoelectronics Technology (CSOT) also added a new Gen-8.5 fab last year, but the fab did not achieve the expected production volume. Also, the panel maker’s shipments of 32-inch panels were affected for a while due to floor cracks in another fab. Nonetheless, CSOT managed to make a recovery at the end of third quarter and increased its annual TV panel shipments slightly by 3.5%, totaling 25.52 million units. The Chinese panel maker held the sixth spot in the ranking for 2015.