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LTPS Expansion Depends Highly on Chinese Panel Manufacturing Yields

Published: Jul 17,2015

HD panels are the market mainstream among China’s newly released smartphone models and smartphone shipments in the second half of 2014. As HD panels have become a mainstay, several panel makers have started to build new low temperature poly-silicon (LTPS) production lines to produce high-end mobile phone panels for mobile devices.

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According to MIC (Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute), a Taipei-based ICT research institute, Chinese panel makers, in particular, have taken more aggressive stance such that BOE set up 6G production line in Chengdu, and Tianma in Wuhan. Estimated from the capacity of existing lines of individual panel makers, the total LTPS area is to increase from 7.8 million square meters in 2014 to 11.0 million square meters in 2016, with a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 18.8%.

"Given the continued improvement in resolution, panel makers without LTPS lines are exposed to the loss of competitiveness," says Joy Tsai, industry analyst with MIC.

"Driven by the support of government policy, Chinese panel makers have been able to invest production lines using the top-notch technologies like LTPS. Whether the chain reaction caused by the low-price trend will lead to bankruptcy of Japanese brands is noteworthy as it may give Chinese panel makers a good chance to take over Japan makers with more advanced technology and know-how. This will help them make a big leap forward in panel technology to pressure on their rivals."

Sharp has faced operational difficulties in 2015 with nearly 200 billion Yen (US$1.63 billion; US$= 122.6 Yen) deficit, and has been seeking financial aids. Sharp's technology advantage has been an incentive for many companies to purchase its small and medium panel business. For instance, Chinese panel makers and Taiwan's Foxconn all have exhibited high interests in buying Sharp's LTPS and oxide technologies.

If Chinese panel makers succeed in acquiring Sharp's LTPS technology, their LTPS production yields will be enhanced significantly. With the improved yields and increased capacity, Chinese panels are expected to make a disruptive stir to prices of HD panels at the high-end market sector.

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