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Chinese Panel Makers Catching Up Fast in LTPS LCD Panel Shipments for Mobile Phones, IHS Markit Says

Published: Feb 08,2018

Total shipments of mobile phone displays, including thin-film transistor liquid crystal display (TFT LCD) and active matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) panels, reached 2.01 billion units in 2017, up 3 percent from 2016, according to preliminary estimate from business information provider IHS Markit.

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In the growing mobile phone display market, shipments of low-temperature-poly-silicon (LTPS) TFT LCD panels, which realize high-resolution images, increased by 21 percent to 620 million units in 2017 compared to the previous year. Shipments of amorphous silicon (a-Si) TFT LCD mobile phone panels declined 4 percent to 979 million units during the same period. Even though shipments of AMOLED panels jumped in the second half of 2017 thanks to the launch of the iPhone X, combined with the weak demand in the first half, its shipments were up just 3 percent to 402 million units in 2017.

In the smartphone-use LTPS TFT LCD market, Tianma, a leading small and medium panel supplier in China, has shown significant growth, expanding its shipments to Chinese smartphone set brands, such as Huawei and Xiaomi. In 2017, Tianma shipped 105 million LTPS TFT LCD panels for smartphones, almost double its shipments in 2016, with a market share of 17 percent, up 6 percentage points from 2016.

It ranked the second largest LTPS TFT LCD supplier for smartphones in 2017, taking over LG Display with 16 percent, down 4 percentage points, and Sharp with 13 percent, down 1 percentage point. In 2017, Japan Display continued its market leader position but shed its share by 10 percentage points to 26 percent in 2017, according to the latest Smartphone Display Intelligent Service report by IHS Markit.

“LTPS TFT is a key technology to produce high-resolution displays for smartphones, and experience is required to optimize highly complex LTPS manufacturing process in each production fab. In terms of experience, Japanese and South Korean panel makers have a competitive advantage compared to Chinese makers,” said Hiroshi Hayase, senior director at IHS Markit. “However, Chinese LCD makers, such as Tianma and BOE, are catching up LTPS technology fast enough to support high demand from Chinese smartphone set makers.”

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