Innolux is now world’s No. 1 laptop panel supplier

By Kathryn Chiu, The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Innolux Display Corp. (群創光電) gained a 27-percent global share of the segment in July, replacing Korean rival LGD to become the world’s largest supplier of notebook PC panels. According to WitsView Technology Corp., a Taiwan-based thin film transistor-liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) market research firm, the outcome is attributed to Samsung which is striving to compete with Apple for the No. 1 position in the tablet segment. To that end, the Korean company has been increasing the production ratio of tablet panels while lowering that of laptop panels. Order Shifts Favor Taiwan In the meantime, LGD is upgrading its production ratios of smartphone and industrial-computer panels. WitsView predicted that the trend would drive laptop panel orders to Taiwanese suppliers. Innolux is expected to be the biggest beneficiary of the expected order shifts, WitsView said. Innolux is producing 12-inch laptop panels at its 5.5th-generation (5.5G) factory, giving it greater flexibility in panel prices and shipment volumes. Display market researcher NPD DisplaySearch recently reported that the display panel manufacturer market share rankings shifted in the second quarter. LGD maintained its lead with 25 percent of units shipped, but for the first time Innolux surpassed Korean rival Samsung, while AU Optronics Corp. (AUO, 友達光電), the second-largest TFT-LCD maker in Taiwan, ranked fourth, followed by Beijing Oriental Electronics (BOE, 京東方) of China. However, on a shipment area basis, LGD ranked first in the second quarter with 25 percent, followed by Samsung with 22 percent, Innolux with 19 percent, AUO with 15 percent, and Sharp of Japan with 6 percent. According to panel makers’ future business plans, nearly all TFT-LCD applications are expected to experience a quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) decline in the third quarter, excluding the 9-inch and larger tablet-PC panel and public display panel segments. AMOLED Panels

Grow Substantially Due to increased demand for larger tablet PCs from consumers and aggressive marketing efforts of tablet PC brands, shipments of large-sized active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) panels for tablet PCs will grow substantially in the third quarter, passing one million. WitsView analyst Chen Jian-an (陳建安) said that August’s global large-sized TFT-LCD shipments are expected to stay at the same level as the previous month. Laptop panel shipments are expected to hold steady, while tablet panel demand is expected to dip 1 percent month-on-month (MoM) in August, Chen added. NPD DisplaySerach forecasts that the overall TFT-LCD market will experience a 3 percent QoQ decrease, as manufacturers plan to ship just 174.6 million TFT-LCD panels in the third quarter. Utilization rates are also expected to be lower in the third quarter than in the second quarter. However, as pipeline shortages disappear, the most critical job that panel makers have is to prevent panel prices from falling. With balance reached between demand and supply and a lowering fab utilization rate, the risk of panel inventory adjustment in the fourth quarter cannot be ignored, said NPD Displaysearch.