Spate Of Large-Glass Panel Plants Could Lead To Big-Screen Price Drops
A potential glut of large-size display panel production, particularly in China, should produce a significant reduction in television glass panel prices, and bargains on televisions larger than 55 inches in the next three to five years.
That was the assessment of Chris Chinnock, principal of Insight Media, sharing the findings of market research firm Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC) during his recent QLED & Advanced Display Technology Summit in Hollywood.
Using the DSCC market data, Chinnock said a “big wave” of 10.5 Gen LCD panel plants and even a couple of 11 Gen versions are planned or under construction now, particularly in China, to amp up supply of larger screen TVs, including some next-generation 8K models.
Chinnock said the larger generation glass plants produce larger sheets of so-called mother glass, which can be cut up to produce very big television screen sizes, favoring, in particular, the 65 and 75-inch television size classes. This, he said, makes the new larger plant construction “economically more interesting.”
Chinnock, quoting the DSCC forecast numbers, said “we are looking at 53% capacity growth from 2017 to 2022, which is way beyond what the normal production capacity is. Everybody now recognizes that this is going to create a huge oversupply of capacity.”
“China is a huge driver behind this,” Chinnock said. “The government, particularly local governments there, are providing large subsidies for this.”
Manufacturers of OLED panel plants are also “invested” in expanding production capacity at generally smaller plants, but Chinnock pointed out there is “a vast difference between the amount of LCD investments and OLED investments.”
This includes the expansion of LCD models based on quantum dot (or QLED) color enhanced film technologies.
OLED 10.5 Gen plants will come as will 8K OLED displays, the DSCC research indicates, but “it will be a couple of years behind LCD and dwarfed in capacity by the amount of LCD panel production,” he said.
Chinnock said he would not be surprised if a glut of large-panel production forces “a retrenching” to bring some of the supplies back down, but that hasn’t happened yet.
“On the other hand, it might not happen at all because everyone is driven to have more market share, thinking they are the ones that are going to win and the other guys are going to lose,” he hedged. “So, we don’t know how that is all going to play out yet.”
As an example, Chinnock pointed to the recent ground breaking for what was once a planned 10.5 Gen display panel production park in Wisconsin by Japan’s Sharp Corp., now under the control of Taiwan electronics giant Foxconn Group. Before construction began, those plans were downsized to a Gen 6 plant, which produces smaller mother glass sizes, which are expected to be used for smaller mobile device screens, laptops and some smaller screen televisions.
However, the facility could be ramped up to a 10.5 Gen version in time, as demand begins around forthcoming 8K/5G ecosystem products, including very large screen television sets.
Regardless, Chinnock said the key take away from the data is that large-screen televisions, particular in the 65 and 75 inch ranges, are in major growth mode, 8K television is rapidly moving forward for consumer market introduction and will be part of that growth, and China’s investments in new large LCD panel plants will be a major driver behind this new activity.
By Greg Tarr
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