Due to the slackened global economy and the slowdown of replacement demand, Taiwan's MIC (Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute), an ICT industry research institute based in Taipei, predicts that the growth momentum of large-size TFT-LCD panel market will remain modest in 2013. It is anticipated that the shipment of LCD TVs will score a 7% growth whereas the shipment of LCD monitors will continue on the decline in 2013. Moreover, with the growth momentum shifting to emerging markets, TFT-LCD panels are mostly for use on mainstream products, thereby slowing down the pace to enlarge the size of TFT-LCD panel products.
Regards to product specifications, thanks to the continued declines in the prices of LED backlight modules, large-size products equipped with LED backlight panels rapidly increase. It is estimated that the penetration rate of LED backlight models will reach 100% in 2015. Meanwhile, due to the fact that naked-eye 3D technologies and contents yet to reach maturity, when it comes to 3D applications, they still run best on LCD TVs in the short run. It is expected that 3D applications' share in other products will continue to remain less than 10% by 2015. Currently the touch control technology is mainly applied to small-to-middle size products. As for large-size TFT-LCD panels, AIO (All in One) PCs will be the sector to witness higher growth potential. However, as Windows 8 operating system has been designed with touch-control in mind, AIO models are anticipated to use capacitive touch panels instead of optical and resistive touch panels. However, due to the higher price and a limited supply of capacitive touch panels, it is expected that the share of AIO PCs equipped with touch control technology will see a decline in 2013. Whether the share will bounce back will depend upon whether Microsoft's Windows 8 will spur consumer demand.
Although the price of TFT-LCD panels is on the rebound recently, the rise is mild as supplies remain slack and vendors expect to lower fixed cost by maintaining a certain level of utilization rate. Therefore, even the overall TFT-LCD panel shipment volume increased in 2012, the total revenue slightly decreased when compared to 2011.
With TFT-LCD panel manufacturers cutting investments in capacity expansion, it is expected that the supply of TFT-LCD panels will fall short of market demand in the future. By 2014, TFT-LCD panel price is projected to rise as demand exceeds supply. Nevertheless, as Chinese TFT-LCD panel manufacturers will continuously increase production capacity due to China government's policy support, it is expected that the imbalance between supply and demand of TFT-LCD panels will remain prior to 2015 and therefore the chance of seeing panel prices come back is rather slim.
In the face of challenges such as patent disputes, technology maturity level, customer demand and capital acquisition, Taiwanese manufacturers have significantly fallen behind their Japanese and Korean counterparts in developing high-tech domains such as LTPS (Low Temperature Poly-silicon), AMOLED (Active-matrix Organic Light-emitting Diode), and Oxide TFT. However, as a-Si (Amorphous Silicon) technology continues to advance and high-end panels' share in smartphones and tablet devices decreases, a-Si panels has been used more in mid-range and value line products. As a result, it is expected that demand for cost-competitive a-Si panels used in mid-range and value line products will surge. On the contrary, the future development of LTPS, AMOLED, and Oxide TFT panels will be relatively limited.
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Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute (MIC), based in Taipei, Taiwan, was founded in 1987. MIC is Taiwan's premier IT industry research and consulting firm providing intelligence, in-depth analysis, and strategic consulting services on global IT product and technology trends. MIC is part of the Institute for Information Industry. http://mic.iii.org.tw/english