Semiconductor equipment provider Applied Materials delivered another strong quarter for its display business, with its first quarter display revenues increasing 66% on year to US$422 million and its orders tripling to US$632 million. The company noted that since 2012 it has grown its display revenues by around 20% a year, and Applied believes it will book US$2 billion in orders for 2017.
Company CFO Robert Halliday noted that more than half of the bookings Applied will have for its display business will come out of China this year.
One major trend Applied is seeing in the display industry is rapid growth in large-size TV panel (60-inch and above panels) demand, which is driving investment in 10.5G fabs. Applied CEO Gary Dickerson said the company is now tracking seven Gen 10.5 projects.
The second strong area for demand in the sector is for OLED manufacturing, with demand broadening to new players in the market. Dickerson stated that Applied is seeing its demand in this area coming from new entrants, which has strengthened Applied's forecast in this area. The company expects market players to increase their investments in this area by around US$3 billion in 2017, about US$1 billion more than Applied thought the total would be only three months ago in November.
Halliday mentioned that Applied has received orders from 10 different OLED manufacturers in the last year, mostly in the last couple of quarters. Nine of the makers focus on mobile devices, while one focuses on lighting.
Dickerson also pointed to China as major driver for demand. Compared with 2015, the company's business in China has grown by over US$1 billion. Semiconductor demand has been a strong pull there, with the business doubling, but Applied's has seen demand in the display sector grow by 50%.