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(Japanese Site)

  • Competition Pushes Prices of TFT-LCD Monitors Down Further
  • June 3, 1998 (TOKYO) -- Keener competition is further depressing prices in the thin-film transistor liquid-crystal display (TFT-LCD) monitor market.
    The 14-in. LCD monitors, which have the same display area as 16-in. CRTs, are especially subject to radical bargaining. Products that used to cost 300,000 yen (US$2,180) minimum in shops in the spring of 1997 have depreciated to less than half of the price for the course of a year.

    This pricing war broke out when Iiyama Electric Co., Ltd. started marketing a 14-in. TFT-LCD monitor for 188,000 yen (US$1,370), the first of its kind cheaper than 200,000 yen (US$1,400), in November 1997.

    As price competition became keener, Iiyama further dropped the retail store price to some 160,000 yen (US$1,150) in February, 1998. In April, Iiyama priced its 14.1-in. LCD at 148,000 yen (US$1,060).

    May saw Nanao Corp., which had been reluctant to join in pricing competition before, cut the wholesale price of its 13.8-in. LCD monitor, which sold for 138,000 yen (US$990) at shops.

    Melco Inc. responded quickly to this trend, placing its 14.1-in. LCD monitor at the same shop price as Nanao's product.

    Artwork Corp. also plans to introduce a low-priced display adopting an LCD panel made by a Korean manufacturer. The company will sell a 14-in. display for less than 130,000 yen in shops.

    A major cause of the price war is excessive competition among more than 20 companies in a market estimated to have annual sales of 200,000 to 300,000 units.

    An industry source said most manufacturers of LCD panels and LCD monitors have already sunk into the red, because they are making sacrifice sales of inventories under stiff competition, and they cannot catch up any more.

    Some aggressive manufacturers, however, boast that they are ready for further price cuts. Artwork is confident about competing in cutting shop prices below 100,000 yen (US$720) this coming summer.

    Competition for TFT-LCD monitors to take on more share in the overall market and which have the potential to replace CRTs is expected to keep intensifying.

    Related story: Nanao Ranks Top in Nikkei Byte Survey with Easy-to-Use TFT-LCD Monitor

    (Nikkei Personal Computing)

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    Updated: Tue Jun 2 15:51:06 1998