Samsung Seeks Quick LCD Fab Approval by China: Rumor has it Samsung Electronics plans to offer DRAM investments to speed up China’s evaluation of its LCD panel investment plans. Samsung might also give up subsidies. Taiwan-based DRAM manufacturers are skeptical: Samsung must be willing to open the DRAM investment to the local government for a chance to obtain permission to operate a DRAM manufacturing plant. Samsung is concerned about the strengthening ties between Taiwan LCD suppliers and China-based TV manufacturers. AU Optronics (AUO) has submitted an application to the Taiwanese government to establish a LCD panel fabrication plant in China. AUO expects volume production at this LCD fab to commence in 2011. Chimei Innolux (CMI) also has the potential to announce a Gen. 8 LCD fab in Sichuan, China.
Samsung’s local rival LG Display (LGD) will invest US$1.33 billion in a joint venture with Skyworth to build a Gen. 8 LCD plant in Guangzhou, China. LGD will have 70% equity share and Skyworth 10%. In December 2009, the South Korean government approved both applications submitted by Samsung and LGD to establish LCD fabrication plants in China, which will likely become the largest LCD TV market soon, surpassing Western Europe and the US.
Multitouch IPS LCD Panel Most Expensive iPad Component: We experience the iPad through the 9.7-inch multitouch IPS LCD panel, which is not surprisingly the most expensive component making up the iPad. The estimated total cost of the WiFi-only iPad is about US$300 with the LCD panel costing around US$50-60 with the touch layer adding US$30. LG Display (LGD) is the only supplier of the 9.7-inch IPS LCD and has shipped close to 900,000 panels since February.
LED Chip Per LCD TV Backlight to Fall 30% by End of 2010: According to AU Optronics (AUO) expects the number of LED chips inside the backlight units (BLUs) of LCD TVs to decrease by around 30% by the end of 2010. AUO expects single-side edge-lit LED BLUs to become standard for budget LCD TV models in 2011. In 2010, 20% of the global LCD TV market will sport a LED BLU. Toward the end of 2010, AUO forecasts LED-backlit LCD TVs to take 30-40% market share. Epistar’s chairman Biing-jye Lee sees LED-backlit LCD TVs capturing 45% market share in 2011.
There is concern of an LED shortage that might limit growth. In the first quarter of 2010 there was a 30-40% shortage of LEDs. Due to an increase of material costs, LED suppliers are expected to raise prices. With the number of LEDs per LED backlight decreasing and LED suppliers increasing capacity (read LED Shortage) the shortage of LEDs may not continue for too long.