One of the most important considerations in China's industrial and technical development has always been the principle of not allowing important strategic goods or materials to fall under the control of other nations. Although China currently relies on imports for the vast majority of 32-inch or larger LCD TV panels, with the country's role largely limited to LCM assembly, China's policy guidelines for the development of the flat panel display industry signal that the country intends to fill in the gaps in its existing supply chains.
This includes upstream components and materials, as well as LCD panels, and the scale of state subsidies to homegrown panel manufacturers such as BOE and China Star Optoelectronics demonstrates the government's commitment to this endeavor. TFT LCDs also have enormous output value, making them of considerable use in efforts to boost local economies and GDP figures. For this reason, a wave of enthusiasm for building advanced production lines has swept through China over the last year or two.
In addition, China's low labor costs and abundant workforce, combined with the continuing improvements in its production supply chain efficiency, have led almost 95% of Taiwan-based electronics manufacturers to locate their overseas production sites principally in China. Driven by the two key factors of production and local demand, China is fast becoming the location of choice for manufacturers wishing to set up new TFT LCD production lines.
The combination of sustained growth in China's domestic demand and its growing exports of LCD products in downstream applications, means China is set to become a new challenge that global display panel manufacturers cannot afford to ignore over the next 2-3 years.
The DIGITIMES Research Special Report, "China TFT LCD panel industry overview," provides and in-depth examination of China's TFT LCD sector, including analysis of the proactive policies China uses to support its flat panel display industry, forecasts of local and global large-size LCD demand and the expected development of the local TFT LCD supply chain, as well as providing multiple large-size TFT LCD production line capacity scenarios for the Greater China region over the next few years.
Table 5: Quarterly production capacity and predictions for 6G or later generation TFT LCD fabs in China, 4Q10 to 4Q13 (k sheets/month, includes only capacity for which approval has already been granted)