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(Nikkei BP Group)

(No.1 High-Tech News Site in Japanese)

  • TFT Liquid Crystal Panel Supply to Fall Short in 4Q 1998: Nikkei Market Access
  • August 31, 1998 (TOKYO) -- The supply of thin film-transistor liquid-crystal display panels exceeded demand in 1997 and prices dropped significantly, but this situation may reverse soon.
    According to the research by Nikkei Market Access, a membership IT information service, there will be a short supply of TFT-LCD panels from the last quarter of 1998 onwards.

    Global production capacity of TFT-LCD panels in 1997 increased by 33 percent compared to the previous year with approximately 10 million units of 12.1-in. panels (See chart).

    However, the increase in the production of notebook PCs with a TFT-LCD panel remained at 15 percent compared to the previous year.

    Consequently, there was an excess number of panels, and the price of 12.1-in. TFT panels dropped to approximately US$300, or less than half the price a year ago.

    As a result of the price reduction in TFT panels, the price gap between TFT panels and super twisted nematic (STN) panels became small. The gap of approximately US$320 for 12.1-in. panels in the first quarter of 1997 decreased to about US$130 a year later.

    Therefore, manufacturers of notebook PCs have increased the ratio of the number of TFT panels in their products. It is expected that the ratio of TFT panels in the overall notebook PC market will reach approximately 80 percent by the last quarter of 1998.

    The size of the panel is also becoming larger. The ratio of 12.1-in. panels in the total production of TFT panels was 65 percent in the second quarter of 1997, while it is expected to decrease to 34 percent in the last quarter of 1998.

    The ratio of the 13.3-in. type during the last quarter of 1998 will be 36 percent, replacing the 12.1-in. type.

    By contrast, the worldwide production of TFT-LCD panels during the second quarter of 1998 increased by 50 percent to 3,389,000 panels of the 12.1-in. size compared to the same period the previous year. It is expected that although the growth rate will slow down slightly after the third quarter of 1998, the production capacity in the first quarter of 2000 will exceed 5 million panels.

    So the production capacity will continue to increase, and adoption of larger-sized panels and the ratio of TFT panels in notebook PCs will rise. Nikkei Market Access concluded that production capacity will not match up with demand, subsequently causing a shortage in supply of TFT panels from the last quarter of 1998 onward.

    (Nikkei Market Access)

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    Updated: Fri Aug 28 18:42:09 1998 PDT