Taiwan has been the powerhouse in the TFT LCD industry in the Greater China region. It still is, but China is now also emerging as a big player, bolstering the region's importance in the LCD panel industry. The Greater China region (Taiwan and China) is expected to account for 44.5% of global large-size TFT LCD panel shipments and 42.5% of global large-size capacity in 2011. Geographically speaking, Greater China is the second most important region after South Korea in the panel industry.
The rise of China to becoming a major large-size LCD panel supplier is being facilitated both by its role as the world's factory and by its huge domestic demand. Even though the rising salary levels in Chinese coastal areas have been sending manufacturers looking for cheaper labor in inland regions or other countries, the supply chain in China still boasts high efficiency and cost-effectiveness. In the foreseeable future China will remain the biggest production base for end products using large-size TFT LCD panels. DIGITIMES Research predicts China's share of global production of end products with large-size TFT LCD panels will be able to remain above 73% at least until 2013. Furthermore, demand for end products from the domestic market and exporters will continue to require China to import or locally produce large amounts of TFT LCD panels in the next five years. This will enable China's development into a major large-size LCD panel production base.
The current global economic woes may be slowing down China's progress towards becoming a powerhouse in the large-size TFT LCD panel industry. Its own players are still eager to ramp up capacity, but foreign competitors have all delayed their plans to build advanced panel lines in China. But these foreign players may change their mind next year if China raises tariffs on imports of large-size panels. It remains to be seen how much the tariffs may go up. If the increase is small, these foreign players may find it less pressing to speed up their plant projects. But if the tariffs go up to 8-12% from the present 3-5%, profits for panel exports to China will take a significant blow, forcing them to be more active in building their production facilities in China.
Within the Greater China region Taiwan-based panel makers AUO and CMI will still maintain a 30% share or even more of global large-size TFT LCD shipments by 2013, and their China-based competitors have a good chance of increasing their share to more than 10% by 2013, thanks to domestic demand and the support of the Chinese government's tariffs policy.
The DIGITIMES Special Report "Development trends in the Greater China large-size TFT LCD industry" offers a comprehensive overview of the development of the large-size TFT LCD panel industry in the Greater China region, as well as the competition and collaboration between China-based players and their peers from Taiwan and South Korea.