By 2018, the market for display driver integrated circuits (DICs) will be worth $7.3 billion, up from $4.6 billion in 2012. NPD DisplaySearch says that the growth is caused by DICs with higher resolutions, higher ASPs and integrated functions. Rising LCD panel shipments for TVs, and OLED panel shipments for smartphones, are also driving demand.
Demand for gate drivers is being eroded by the trend towards slim-bezel for LCD TVs and tablet PCs using gate-on-array (GOA) technology. However, the source DIC market is still growing. DisplaySearch expects that demand for smartphone panel source DICs will triple by 2018, with revenue growing from $139 million in 2012 to $325 million in 2018.
In 2014 and 2015, the market for display DICs is forecast to be tight as foundry makers are focused on building high-value semiconductors. These include memory and processor devices for mobile products. Tadashi Uno of DisplaySearch said, “As long as mobile semiconductor demand is still increasing, the driver IC and TCON shortage is expected to continue”.
Novatek led the large-area display DIC market in the first six months of 2014, with a 28% market share. Samsung Semiconductor (19%) and Lusem (15%) – the main driver IC suppliers for Samsung Display and LG Display, respectively – followed. The small- and medium-area display DIC market was led by Renesas SP (33% share). Novatek (28%), Samsung Semiconductor (16%), Orise (7%) and Himax (5%) followed.
Touch controller companies have begun to acquire driver IC makers, reports DisplaySearch. They are doing so because of the trend towards integration between smartphone display driver ICs and touch panel controllers; acquiring DIC makers will enable these companies to compete more effectively. For example, signal cables and ICs can be simplified and flexible printed circuit and assembly costs can be reduced. Synaptics and Focaltech have acquired Renesas SP and Orise, respectively.