LCD Panel Oversupply Unlikely in 2010

Padangekspres.net-Demand is expected to exceed supply in the global liquid crystal display (LCD) panel industry this year as the rising shipments from China and new products brighten the sector's outlook, a top executive of LG Display said Thursday.

Kwon Young-soo, CEO of LG Display, said Thursday the rising demand for 3D televisions and LED-backlit LCD TVs will help the industry stay away from a possible supply glut.

"There had been worries over oversupply of LCD panels. But the industry has been experiencing a supply shortage due to high consumer preferences toward 3D televisions," Kwon said in a meeting with reporters, Thursday.

"LG Display has ruled out a scenario that the global flat-screen industry will enter into a supply glut phase in 2010," he said.

In the panel industry, supply & demand cycle is the key factor to gauge profitability in panel makers. When stocks are high mainly due to macro-economic reasons, panel prices drop, dragging down the profitability of panel makers.

"Due to robust demand for flat-screen TVs in China, LG Display is seeing an increase of global shares this year from the previous year without an additional panel investment," Kwon said without elaborating further.

The world's second-biggest maker of LCD panels has also been in the final stages with two or three Chinese TV set makers for joint partnership.

"We've been approached by two or three local Chinese TV makers for the joint investment in the project."

LG Display expects Beijing to finally approve the LG's $4 billion plan to build an advanced panel plant in China either late February or early March.

The South Korean government earlier approved LG Display's project to export the latest eighth-generation technology to China on condition that the company takes proper steps to prevent technology drain.

Betting Emerging Technologies

Kwon said LG Display aims to take a firm lead over its biggest rival Samsung Electronics in new businesses ― 3D, OLED panels, solar power cells and e-paper.

"We are rapidly turning into emerging panel technologies. Those businesses will start generating profits from 2010. LG display will produce 30-inch OLED TV panels in 2012," he said, adding smaller-sized OLED panels are unprofitable.

"Most of the related technologies are ahead than those from our rivals including Samsung Electronics. Especially in 3D panels, LG Display will take a firm lead," he said.

OLED panels are truly the next-generation flat-screens. It creates thinner, higher quality and more energy efficient screens than the industry’s mainstream of LCD panels.

Due to high prices, the panels are currently used in some pricey digital devices such as mobile phones and digital cameras.

"In LED-backlit LCD panels, we faced difficulties last year. But we are positive to equally compete with Samsung in the segment thanks to enhanced supply chain management (SCM) structure in LED chips and strengthened partnership with Taiwanese relevant suppliers."

In e-paper and e-books, the CEO said the company is seeking a chance for better partnership with Japan's Sony to sell its displays fit for electronic book reader.

"In e-paper, we are talking with several foreign newspapers for an actual results," Kwon said. E-paper is an electronic display giving the appearance of ink on paper.

yckim@koreatimes.co.kr


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