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Iris Hu, research manager of WitsView, pointed out that TV brands have become more confident at the market after seeing strong sales results in China pertaining to online sales events on June 18 and August 18. They are also more aggressive in stocking up in preparation for the next two major busy periods in the Chinese market – the “golden week” of the National Day holiday in October and the online shopping extravaganza on Singles’ Day in November.
“On the whole, the procurement momentum from TV brands has apparently recovered since the middle of the third quarter,” said Hu. “At the same time, Chinese TV brands have focused on developing the medium- and the small-size segments of their oversea markets during this year. Going forward, TV panel shipments in September are expected to remain stable as in August.
In the monthly TV panel shipment ranking for August, Innolux took first place again after two years and surpassed LG Display since June 2015. Innolux shipped around 3.94 million units in August, an increase of 28.9% from July. Innolux’s shipments of 23.6- and 32-inch panels benefitted from the replacement of CRT TV sets with LCD ones in Southeast Asia and other emerging markets. Together, shipments of these two size segments went up by 28.6% compared with the previous month.
Innolux also benefitted from the shorter shipment base level of July and the rise in demand following two months of falling prices. Its 50-inch shipments in August not only returned to 800,000-unit mark but also achieved a new single-month high for its shipments of this size segment, soaring by 116.8% from July to hit 867,000 units.
LG Display (LGD) fell to second place in TV panel shipment ranking and was the only one among the six major panel makers to post monthly shipment decline for August. Chinese TV brands and LCD module suppliers make up more than 50% of LGD’s client base. These clients held back their stock-up demand in August as they expected further drops in panel prices. The slowdown in Chinese orders therefore led to a below-expected TV panel shipments for LGD, whose August total was around 3.8 million units – a decline of 3.6% compared with July.
BOE Technology (BOE) grew its TV panel shipments in August as it had done in July. Its August total was around 3.77 million units, representing a small monthly increase of 1.9%. Versus July, shipments of 32-inch panels (the panel maker’s main offering) went up by 5.3%. Furthermore, BOE’s shipments of 49-inch panels increased by 16.8% on the back of effective promotion efforts to the white-box TV makers.
Samsung Display (SDC) has not taken additional production capacity for TV panels. Instead, SDC has modified its panel fabs so each of them focuses on one size segment. SDC intends to raise the overall shipment by minimizing inefficiency of operating multiple processing lines within a production facility while maximizing the capacity utilization. The investments to change the production strategy appears to be yielding positive returns as SDC recorded a monthly growth rate of 8.1% in August with the volume totaling around 3.54 million units.
China Star Optoelectronics Technology (CSOT) shipped around 3.4 million units in August, up 7.9% from July. CSOT’s advantage lies in being the supplier for its group company TCL, which is purchasing more in-house panels as it works to expand its market share in North America. Likewise, other Chinese brands in face of saturated domestic markets are also expanding overseas. On account of the demand from compatriot TV makers, CSOT’s shipments of 32- and 49-inch panels also went up by 21.4% and 16.7%, respectively, in August compared with July.
TV panel shipments for AU Optronics (AUO) in August came to around 2.4 million units, up 4.3% from July’s volume. While AUO’s main focus is on large-size and niche panel products, it maintains a flexible product mix strategy so that it gets the most out of its limited production capacity. Due to the rising demand from TV brands for medium- and small-size panels, AUO saw its shipments of 32- and 39-inch panels increased by 9.4% and 5.4%, respectively, in August versus the prior month.
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