Despite the fact that Japan Display (JDI) has been operating in the red for a long time, the Japan government is unlikely to let JDI go simply because Japan's automotive electronics industry still dominates the global market, and maintaining its own panel production capacity will continue to be a market niche for Japan's electronics industry, according to Digitimes Research.
For this reason, JDI has recently launched an expansion project, aiming to ramp up the production capacity of its 4G plant in Tottori, which focuses on automotive panels, to 54,000 substrates a month from 45,000 units currently.
JDI and Sharp have been dominating the automotive panel market in Japan and have also captured a relatively high level of market share in the US and Europe, respectively. However, the two firms have also seen their global market shares gradually diminishing as Taiwan-based AU Optronics (AUO) has actively stepped into the markets in Japan and Europe, and some Japan-based automotive electronics companies have reduced their orders to Sharp after Foxconn Electronics took over the management of Sharp.
Meanwhile, LG Electronics is also stepping into the automotive electronics market and is offering support to LG Display to make its display subsidiary its main sources of panel supplies. LG Display has begun making inroads into the European market along with its improved technology.
Foxconn has its own automotive electronics plants, using panels mainly from its subsidiary Innolux. Sharp has been increasing its purchases of panels from Innolux, further enhancing the supply capacity at Innolux.
Although China-based panel makers including BOE Technology, Tianma Micro-electronics and Infovision Optoelectronics are also strengthening their automotive panel business, these firms are currently focusing their marketing on the domestic market.
While Samsung Display is switching its focus to AMOLED panels, the AMOLED panels are unlikely to make significant inroads into the automotive panel market before 2020 due to the reliability of such panels.