As for 2018, Iris Hu, research manager of WitsView, points out that panel makers will continue to increase the production shares of large-size panels and UHD panels to boost the revenue and profit. “The penetration rate of UHD panels is expected to reach 42% this year, an increase of 7.4 percentage points compared with 2017”, says Hu. Regarding the new production capacity, BOE’s Gen 10.5 fab produces mainly large-size TV panels (65" and 75"), but CEC’s two fabs still put their priorities at middle-size ones (32" and 50"). Meanwhile, replacement of CRT TV sets with 32" and 23.6" LCD ones is still ongoing in emerging markets, making the average panel size grow slower to 45.8 inches, only 1.3 inches up from 2017. Overall speaking, global TV panel shipments this year will have chance to hit a second-highest number in history, reaching 269.49 million pieces, an annual increase of 2.2%.
LGD remains the leader in TV panel market while BOE took second place for the first time
In the global TV panel shipment ranking for 2017, LG Display (LGD) came first place with a shipment of around 50.85 million pieces last year, a decrease of 3.9%. LGD expanded its production capacity in Guangzhou fab for 50K sheet, but in terms of panel size, increasing the production capacity share of 65" and greater panels has been the trend. Particularly, LGD shipments of 65" and 75" panels have increased significantly by 38.5% and 132.7% respectively, indicating that LGD has been making efforts to retain its market share in large-size TV panel sector before BOE’s Gen 10.5 fab enter mass production.
BOE deliberately slowed down its 32" TV panel production growth in 2017, so the shipments of this size increased by only 0.4%, totaling 43.81 million pieces. But its total shipments climbed to second place for the first time as Samsung Display (SDC)’s closure of L7-1 fab influenced its production. As BOE’s Gen 8.5 fab in Fuqing entered mass production in 2Q17, BOE’s shipments of 43" TV panels grew remarkably by 247.6% last year.
Innolux’s Gen 8.6 fab entered mass production in early 2017, but the yield rate and output were less than expectation in the first half of 2017. In the second half, high pricing of panels led to shrinking demand, resulting in Innolux’s slow-moving and excess stocks. In addition, Innolux announced to enter the TV assembly market, which made its clients more conservative in making orders. Fortunately Innolux figured out the solutions of pricing and stock problems, and ended up with shipments of 41.8 million pieces, an increase of 0.2%, ranking the third.
SDC dropped out of top 3 due to closure of L7-1 fab, CSOT recorded the highest growth by shipment area
SDC’s shipments saw a substantial decline of 15.4% last year since the closure of its L7-1 fab. Its overall TV panel shipments turned out to be 39.6 million pieces, the highest decline among the six major panel makers. Although its shipments have dropped out of top 3, SDC has improved capacity utilization by simplifying its product mix, and has invested in production equipment of UHD and large-size panels to increase the value of its products. As for product portfolio, SDC took initiatives to develop UHD panels, whose proportion came to 54.6% among all of SDC’s products, and also remained a major supplier of large-size panels (55", 65" and 75"). Particularly, its market share of 65" sector was as high as 36.3%, showing definite advantages over its competitors.
China Star Optoelectronics Technology (CSOT) kept increasing the shipments after the capacity of the second phase of its second Gen 8.5 fab was expanded to 140K sheet. CSOT’s final shipments recorded 38.64 million pieces, an increase of 16.8% compared with the previous year. Particularly, 55" panels recorded a 19.4% shipment growth, as CSOT’s capacity expansion came mainly from this size. As for the growth by shipment area, CSOT recorded a 19.6% YoY increase, the highest among the six major panel makers.
TV panel shipments for AU Optronics (AUO) in 2017 came to around 27.21 million pieces, 0.1% down from the previous year. AUO continued to optimize its product portfolio and increased the proportion of large-size panels, so it finally recorded a 5.1% growth of shipment area. In addition, AUO also put focus on increasing the proportion of UHD products, reaching 44% of all its products, the third highest number following LGD and SDC.