China remains keen on TFT-LCD modules

Makers of TFT-LCD modules keep momentum as demand stays high despite OLED rival’s spreading adoption.

February 06, 2017

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Makers of TFT-LCD modules keep momentum as demand stays high despite OLED rival’s spreading adoption.

Suppliers of 3 to 6in TFT-LCD modules in mainland China are upbeat about the technology, banking on its continued market dominance in the next two or three years notwithstanding the resurgence of OLED displays. They cite the shift to bigger LCD screens within this range in mainstream smartphones and the projected higher requirement from the automotive infotainment and the emerging smart home sectors. This is in addition to healthy demand in digital and video cameras, PDAs, gaming devices and industrial equipment.

For maximum advantage, many manufacturers are planning to raise output further. Most anticipate sales value will increase by at least 5 percent in 2017 in momentum with the past one or two years. Shenzhen Zhongshen Optoelectronics Co. Ltd looks forward to another 20 percent revenue boost by this year's end.

The positive outlook is fueled by sustained initiatives in the mainland's LCD panel production to achieve higher resolution and power efficiency. Large local companies have invested in facilities for TFT LCDs that adopt low-temperature polysilicon or LTPS and indium gallium zinc oxide or IGZO backplanes as better alternatives to the commonly used a-Si. Xiamen Tianma spent $1.8 billion in a 6G plant for LTPS LCDs and color filters, which began mass production in 3Q16 and is scheduled to reach full capacity this year. In the IGZO category, there is BOE.

Smaller display module enterprises are expected to pick up this development and focus attention on the use of such advanced panels in coming years.

There are at least 500 makers of 3 to 6in TFT-LCD modules in the mainland, and over 70 percent are homegrown operations and the rest with Taiwan and Hong Kong investment. All turn out other sizes, mostly up to 10in units. The majority of the companies also manufacture OLED and LED displays.

Due to tight competition, there have been few new entrants to the line in recent years, a trend likely to persist in the next two.

Production remains concentrated in the coastal electronics hubs in Guangdong, Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces. The first is still the largest host, gathering more than half of the suppliers in the cities of Shenzhen and Dongguan.

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