China-based LED epitaxial wafer and chip makers are expected to bring about 300 additional MOCVD equipment sets into operation in the fourth quarter of 2018 and the first quarter of 2019, according to industry sources in China.
The addition of the MOCVD sets will result in increased monthly production capacity of 1.45 million LED epitaxial wafers in the fourth quarter of 2018 and 3.45 million units in 2019, the sources said.
According to China-based Gaogong Industry Research Institute (GGII), China-based makers' total production value for LED chips in 2018 will grow 14% on year, while that for LED packaging will increase 15%. Although prices for LED chips and LED packaging keep falling, output keep increasing because additional production capacities come into operation, GGII noted.
While market research companies forecast an about 4% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for LED industry over the next 3-5 years, Taiwan-based LED epitaxial wafer and chip maker Epistar still expected the LED industry to enjoy a CAGR of 8% during the period, said Epistar president Jou Ming-jiunn. This is because global demand for LED lighting and fine pixel pitch LED displays will keep growing despite shrinking demand for LED backlighting and more importantly, Mini LED and Micro LED will both see increasing demand, Jou explained. For Micro LED, commercial applications may begin in 2020 and related demand is likely to take off in 2021.
Epistar will begin shipments of Mini LED chips used in backlighting of smartphone panels to China-based vendors in the second half of 2018, with the corresponding revenue proportion estimated at 3-5%. In addition, Epistar is expected to begin shipping Mini LED chips for use to backlight panels of gaming notebooks and LCD monitors, automotive displays and LCD TVs in 2019. Thus, Epistar may see the revenue proportion for the Mini LED business exceed 7% in 2019.