Jessie Lin, DIGITIMES Research, Taipei [Wednesday 8 August 2012]
South Korea- and Japan-based LED firms reported first-half 2012 financial results. Samsung Electronics, having consolidated its LED supply chain and resources, predicts 2012 total revenues of the LED businesses to be KRW2.5 trillion (US$2.2 billion), an on-year growth of 93.5%. Japan-based Toyoda Gosei forecasts 2012 revenues of its LED related department at JPY55 billion (US$700 million), representing an increase of 74.6%. The growth of revenues in 2012 is mainly due to low bases in 2011. In addition, demand of LED components for tablet PCs has been increasing and Japan has been eager to switch to LED lightings.
Another South Korea-based LED firm, LG Inotek, predicts 2012 revenues to grow on-year by 9.7% at KRW994 billion. Nevertheless, LG Inotek suffered huge net loss in 2011, hence the primary goal for the firm in 2012 is to decrease operating loss.
South Korea-based LED firms have been expanding market shares and increasing competitions among peers. The LED patent wars have been raging in the global market. In particular, the patent lawsuit between Osram, Samsung and LG is the most symbolic. The rulings of courts from Germany and the US have favored Osram. Nevertheless, Samsung has been adopting aggressive measures such as recruiting phosphor experts from Japan and switching LED components bound to export to Europe.
LED lighting is one of the most important businesses for LED firms to develop in 2012. However, the brightness of some LED light bulbs have been exaggerated: some 7W LED light bulbs that are claimed to replace the traditional 40W incandescent light bulbs do not have brightness quality matching the traditional light bulbs. Consumer Affairs Agency, a department of Japan's government, has begun investigating the matter. This is expected to help increasing the quality of LED lighting products.