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Panel makers steaming ahead at full capacity

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Industry research institute WitsView recently stated that a momentous boom is poised to carry the panel-making sector through the third quarter, straining production at near capacity.

According to the institute, the display panel industry is in the early stages of a transition toward newer product specifications, resulting in strained production output as companies work toward improving manufacturing yield rates and materials consumption efficiency. In addition, the rise of new panel specification is expected to divert limited production capacity from more conventional display panel formats and constrain supply.

Researchers noted that, concurrently, the emergence of new technical specifications including curved panels, ultra high 4K2K resolution, larger-sized panels, OLED panels, and new thin copper mesh fabrication methods are beginning to show progress toward commercialization.

WitsView research stated that following the conclusion of the May 1 holidays in China, display panel inventory among the six leading global TV makers has dwindled to 4.7 weeks, a level deemed optimal in preparing a push in sales in the second half of this year. In addition, researchers are expecting a number of China-based TV brands to ramp up intake of inventory in an effort to meet projected shipping targets for this year.

Most notably, the supply of display panels is also constrained by higher-than-expected demand for LCD TVs, crowding out modules supplies for LCD computer monitors, a situation exacerbated by the fact that many fifth-generation production facilities also share the duty of making medium-to small-sized LCD computer monitors.

WitsView stated that larger sized display panels in May saw growth with 32-inch to 42-inch panels rising by US$1 to US$2 per unit, and 46-inch and 48-inch panels rising by US$1 to US$3, while the price of 50-inch and 55-inch display panels remained unchanged. According to researchers, clients did not raise concern over the slight price hikes.

Laptop computer display panels likewise saw an across-the-board increase, with 15.6-inch panels rising by US$0.5 to US$1, and US$1 to US$3 for variants of more specialized specifications, with 14-inched panels rising by US$0.2 and US$0.5, while the price of 17.3-inch, 11.6-inch and 13.3-inch panels in May remained steady.

Meanwhile, due to production output volume constraints, plasma display panels sized 18.5-inch, 20-inch and 27-inch have remained stable over the past month, while 19-inch panels saw a rise by US$1. Plasma display panels sized 19.5-inch and 21.5-inch rose slightly by US$0.3 to US$0.5 per unit, while the price for 23-inch, 23.6-inch and 24-inch variants rose by a range between US$0.5 and US$1.

Forthcoming promotional discount drives on low-priced 15.6-inch laptop computers priced under US$249 and the rising adoption rate for new 19-inch all-in-one PCs are expected to continue to fuel demand for display panels, said WitsView.

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