LTPS Panel Production On the Rise Reports Digitimes

By Norbert Hildebrand
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Based on recent market research results from various firms, Digitimes reports that the use of LTPS TFT panels for smartphones is on the rise.  It sees the manufacturing of LTPS panels rising as the percentage of smartphones using these high end panels increases in China, the largest smartphone market in the world.

This forecast increase of LTPS panel production comes at a time when the total growth of the smartphone market is slowing on a global basis.  The report quotes IDC which sees the smartphone market increasing 19.3% this year, but with growth declining in coming years. It sees only an 8.3% growth in 2017 and 6.2% growth in 2018.  Display Search predicts a similar slowdown with a growth rate of below 10% in 2017.

According to a China based consulting firm, the Chinese smartphone market slowed to a growth rate of 30% in 2014.

Digitimes notes that Taiwan-based small panel suppliers including Chunghwa Picture Tubes (CPT) and Hannstar Display have been hit hard by decreased orders from the handset sector in the third quarter of 2014.  The report sees JDI being hit by the same development.

Display Daily Comment

What Digitimes fails to explain is how a slowing growth rate (30% growth in China) leads to lower panel sales and lower panel orders.  A zero percent growth rate still leads to the same number of panels being sold.

On the other hand, the firm points at an increase in the use of LTPS panels in the Chinese smartphone market, reaching a market penetration of 25.8% in China.  This increase shows a shift to higher end handsets as the market saturates.

Digitimes also reported in another article that JDI holds a 30% market share of LTPS panels for smartphones worldwide.  The article continues that Chinese panel makers are only able to supply 6% of the LTPS panel demand in 2014.  As a consequence, it sees more upgrades of existing fabs and investments in new higher end panel manufacturing for mobile devices. This development will affect manufacturers in China, Taiwan, Korea and Japan. One could say that the race to higher end display panels for mobile devices is in full swing.

The report also states that besides the new investment plans, the same manufacturers are also looking at the production of AMOLED displays for this market.  Overall, it sees the mobile display market moving to higher end displays. (NH)