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AUO to take on tablet panel leaders: report

TAIPEI--Taiwan's AU Optronics Corp. (AUO) is well-positioned to challenge leading display suppliers of tablet computers, given its improved relationship with brand customers, U.S. research firm NPD DisplaySearch said recently in a report.

The worldwide shipments for tablet displays, sized between 5 and 11.6 inches, were pegged at 88.16 million units, the report released by DisplaySearch on Oct. 11 said.

South Korea's LG Display Co. and Samsung Electronics Co. retrained their positions as the top two suppliers, by grabbing 31 percent and 29 percent, respectively, of the total market share, the report said.

China-based BOE Technology Group Co. came in third and accounted for 9 percent of the market share, with Japan's Sharp Corp. and Taiwan's Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd. each taking a 5 percent share, the report said.

Market share of Taiwan's Chimei Innolux Corp. was estimated to be 3 percent of the total tablet display shipments, while AUO garnered a 2 percent share, the report said.

DisplaySearch added that it expects LG Display and Samsung to continue dominating the tablet display supply market for some time, since the two South Korean firms have been extensively involved in the tablet business of Apple Inc.'s popular iPad.

However, Panasonic Corp. of Japan, Sharp and AUO were also expected to continue growing and would become the main competitors of LG Display and Samsung. This was based on the companies' superior ties with tablet vendors in terms of designing new products, the research firm said.

For example, AUO and LG Display were using a new business model that integrates their touch panel production with the lamination business, hoping it will help expand their business scale and revenue, the DisplaySearch report said.

Moreover, AUO was also manufacturing displays for tablet models such as Apple's much-anticipated iPad mini, Asustek Computer Inc.'s Eee Pad Transformer and Lenovo Group's IdeaPad Tablet, the report said.

In a research note published in September, DisplaySearch predicted that the iPad mini would record worldwide shipments of 8 million units in 2012 and 20 million units the next year.

The 7.85-inch tablet, with its slim design and low-power display, was aimed at consumers who enjoy reading on their mobile devices, DisplaySearch said.

LG Display and AUO are the two major display suppliers for the iPad mini, the research company said. The mainstream in-plane switching technology was from LG Display, while the advanced hyper-viewing angle technology was from AUO, it added.

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