With enormous funds from the government and banks, LCD makers of
the Chinese mainland are actively building Gen 8 LCD panel
plants, pushing the mainland toward a global LCD leader.
According to NPD DisplaySearch, by the fourth quarter of 2014,
eight Gen 8 TFT-LCD and AMOLED panel plants will be put into
operation in the mainl-and, including BOE’s B4 plant in Beijing,
B5 in Hefei and B8 in Chongqing, CEC-Panda’s Gen 8 plant in
Nanjing, CSOT’s Fab#1 and Fab#2 in Shenzhen, LG Display’s
plant in Guangzhou, and Samsung Display’s plant in Suzhou.
Given the large-scale construction of Gen 8 LCD panel plants, will the mainland overtake Taiwan, Japan and South Korea to be the world’s largest Gen 8 LCD producer? A report by NPD DisplaySearch shows that South Korea now has the largest capacity for Gen 8 LCD panels and this will continue till 2015. Although the mainland’s capac-ity is growing rapidly, South Korea will still maintain its leadership. The main reasons are that the Gen 8 LCD panel production lines of Samsung and LG Display own enor-mous capacity and make diverse products. In contrast, the mainland’s Gen 8 production lines, despite the amazing pace of construction, are still not mature and each plant has a very limited capacity.
According to NPD DisplaySearch, it takes at least 20 months to build a Gen 8 LED panel plant and put it into stable operation. That makes it possible to predict the capacity in 2015.
First, the mainland’s Gen 8 glass substrate capacity will increase from 250,000 sheets per month in the fourth quarter of 2013 to 670,000 per month in the fourth quarter of 2015. It means a growth rate of 260% which may be the highest in the history of TFT-LCD. The total capacity includes not only that of mainland panel makers but also
Samsung’s and LG Display’s plants based in the mainland.
Second, over the same period, Japan’s Gen 8 glass substrate capacity will decrease from 120,000 to 110,000 sheets per month. The slight decline is mainly because Sha-rp has transformed its Kameyama 2 Gen 8 plant into an Oxide plant to produce high-definition panels for mobile products.
Third, South Korea will see a decline from nearly 800,000 sheets per month in the fourth quarter of 2013, the world’s largest capacity, to 790,000 in the fourth quarter of
2015. The decline results from the transformation of multiple plants which turn from a-Si to Oxide and then to AMOLED. Nonetheless, due to the enormous capacity of each plant, South Korea will still hold the top spot in the world, with its Gen 8 LCD panel plants making 150,000 to 200,000 sheets per month.
Fourth, the capacity of Taiwan will grow slightly from 150,000 to 160,000 sheets per month, due to an increase in the capacity of Gen 8 Oxide TFT production line. But it
has no plan to build new Gen 8 plants until 2015.
By comparing the capacity for Gen 8 TFT-LCD glass substrates, it can be seen that from the fourth quarter of 2013 to that of 2015, the mainland’s share in the global Gen 8 LCD glass substrate market will increase from 19% to 39%, while that of South Korea will fall from 60% to 46%. The combined capacity of the mainland and South Korea
will make up 85% of the world’s total. However, Taiwan will see a decline from 12% to 8%.
Many think that the mainland would use its fast-growing Gen 8 panel production lines to produce LCD TVs, but this is not true. In fact, they are used in a rich variety of prod-ucts.
BOE has started to produce LCD display panels in its Gen 8 B4 plant in Beijing, and tablet panels in its Gen 8 plant, and will introduce Oxide and AMOLED equipment to
its B8 plant in Chongqing and B5 plant in Hefei to make panels for handheld devices. The Gen 8 production line jointly built by CEC-Panda and Sharp will use the IGZO
technology to make high-definition panels for handheld devices, while the newly-built Gen 8 plant of Samsung Display in Suzhou will make LCD panels for monitors.