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This thread is for news about ongoing LCD Fab (fabrication plant) events, such as:
▪ New Fab construction
▪ Process and production technology
▪ Planned capacity changes and future production projections
Other threads in this group on the AVS Forum:
LCD TVs: Market Price Stats Thread
LCD TVs: Technology Advancements Thread
OLED TVs: Technology Advancements Thread
Plasma TVs: Market Price Stats Thread --------------------------------------

Samsung, LG.Philips Start New LCD Lines
1 January 2006



LG.Philips workers hold up a liquid-crystal display (LCD) plate before it is cut
into eight 42-inch TV panels on the first day of operation at its seventh-generation line
in Paju, Kyonggi Province, Sunday.


Samsung Electronics and LG.Philips LCD simultaneously started the mass production of larger TV panels at their newest fabrication lines on Sunday, foretelling an uphill battle for the leadership of the liquid-crystal display (LCD) market.

LG.Philips LCD, a joint venture between LG Electronics and Royal Philips Electronics, announced on Sunday that it opened its seventh-generation LCD factory in Paju, north of Seoul. Samsung, the current market leader, also said that it started mass production at its second seventh-generation LCD line in Tangjong, south of Seoul, named 7-2 Line.

Both Samsung and LG Philips factories will churn out 45,000 LCD plates per month.

The opening of the new facilities are a few months ahead of the companies’ original plans, as they are competing to gain control of the industry standard for LCD panel size. Samsung cuts one seventh-generation plate into eight 40-inch panels or six 46-inch panels, while LG.Philips makes eight 42-inch or six 47-inch panels.

“The mass production at Line 7-2 is deemed a major watershed for Samsung Electronics, giving the company an advantageous position in standardizing LCD TVs around 40 inches and 46 inches,’’ Samsung Electronics said in a statement.

For its part LG.Philips said: “LG.Philips will focus on producing panels for 42-inch TVs and will increase the production volume of 47-inch panels in the future in order to strengthen their dominance in the large-size LCD TV market.’’

The early opening of the facilities are also aimed to meet the soaring demands of large-size LCD TV sets ahead of several big sports events in 2006, such as the Winter Olympic Games in February and the 2006 World Cup in June. Research firm DisplaySearch forecasts that the global market for large-sized flat-panel TVs will grow to 8.9 million units this year from 5.4 million in 2005.

Samsung is the leading LCD panel manufacturer in the world, with its sales reaching $10.1 billion in the first eleven months of 2005. LG.Philips follows Samsung at $9.1 trillion, according to DisplaySearch.

Samsung said that it invested 2.3 trillion won in its new line and plans to make an additional 1.8 trillion-won investment in the second half of the year for a full-scale production capacity of 90,000 sheets per month.

Currently, Samsung is operating the two seventh-generation lines in Tangjong through its joint venture with Sony. The company estimates that it will produce a combined 165,000 LCD sheets per month, or 1.3 million 40-inch panels at full capacity with the two lines.

LG.Philips said it took only one month after the pilot production to start mass production in its Paju factory. The company plans to expand the production capacity from the initial volume of 45,000 sheets per month to 90,000, or 720,000 panels for 42-inch TVs, by the first quarter of 2007.

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S-LCD Announces Expansion of Monthly Production Capacity for 7th Generation Amorphous Silicon TFT LCD Display Panels - up to 90,000 Panels
19 April 2006

S-LCD Corporation (hereafter S-LCD) today decided on an additional investment of 28 billion JPY for existing 7th generation production facility expansion. The investment will be funded by S-LCD itself.

S-LCD currently operates with a monthly production capacity of 60,000 panels (7th generation substrates) which are integrated into both Samsung and Sony LCD TVs.The production capacity is already expected to expand to 75,000 panels per month by July 2006. The investment announced today will further increase the capacity by 15,000 panels a month resulting in a 90,000 panel monthly capacity by beginning of 2007.

S-LCD will continue to be a stable amorphous silicon TFT LCD panel production supplier for both Samsung and Sony.

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CMO more aggressive than AUO in next-generation LCD migration
26 April 2006

Chi Mei Optoelectronics (CMO) is more aggressive than rival AU Optronics (AUO) in migrating to next-generation LCD production, as it recently announced plans to double its 7.5-generation (7.5G) LCD capacity while confirming its 8G LCD plant construction plan is on track.

CMO expects to start second-stage capacity expansion at its 7.5G plant, with equipment installation to commence in the second quarter of 2007. The overall scheduled capacity will double to 100,000 glass substrates per month by the fourth quarter of 2007, the company said.

In addition, the company recently started land development at its first 8G plant. The 8G plant will focus on the over-50-inch segment, Ho added.

CMO expects the 42-inch LCD TVs segment to become the mainstream for the living room in the future and the company will focus on the 40-inch and above TV panel segment, said CMO president Chao-yang Ho.

Once prices of 42-inch LCD TVs drop to US$1,999, end user demand will surely pick up, Ho said.

Besides, CMO is optimistic about the price competitiveness of using 5G plants to produce 40-inch-range TV panels, as its 5G yields have reached 90% and the material costs are currently lower than those from 7.5G plants. CMO’s new 5G plant will enter volume production in the third quarter of this year and will focus on 42- and 47-inch panels initially.

AUO, on the other hand, is betting on the 30-50-inch TV panel market.

The panel maker recently said at its investors conference that it is in no hurry to migrate to 8G LCD production and will aim at expanding capacity at its 6G and 7.5G plants.

The price difference of the 50-inch-range LCD and PDP (plasma display panel) TVs is still big and AUO expects the 30-50-inch segment to still dominate the LCD TV market over the next three years, the company said.

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CPT to begin construction of new LCD panel plant in 4Q, but generation not decided
23 May 2006

Chunghwa Picture Tubes (CPT) said today it will begin construction of a new LCD panel plant at the Central Taiwan Science Park (CTSP) on October 1, but it has yet to decide whether the new line will be a fifth-generation (5G) or 7.5G plant.

CPT said it has yet to decide which generation is more cost-efficient for putting out 40-inch-and-larger TV applications, with the determining factor being how fast and by how much prices for 7.5G glass substrates decrease.

With 7.5G glass substrates each costing about 45,000 yen (US$404.5), it is more cost efficient to focus on 5G production at the moment.

If 7.5G substrate prices remain high, CPT said it will not rule out building a 5G plant at CTSP.

The company revealed that its current combined shipments of 32- and 37-inch panels have reached 80,000 panels a month, and its chief clients for the segments are from Japan and Korea. Clients from China account for about 30% of the shipments, it added.

The panel maker said its shipment goal for TV applications this year is 3.5 million panels, while its OA (office application) shipments currently total 900,000 units per month and its 20-inch widescreen panel shipments total 20,000-30,000 units. The panel maker estimates that its shipments of 15.4- and 17-inch panels will reach 5.5 million and 10-11 million units, respectively, this year.

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Kolin affiliate opens new plant
6 June 2006




LCD TV manufacturer DigiMedia Technology, an affiliate of Kolin, on June 5 opened a new LCD TV plant in Tainan. The new plant will have two production lines, with the annual capacity expected to reach 400,000 units, said DigiMedia CEO and vice chairman Edie Wang. Wang added that the plant will supply Kolin's Olevia-brand LCD TV shipments to the US market.

DigiMedia produces most of Kolin's LCD TVs including its Olevia-branded and Kolin-branded products. Kolin stated it has a 40% stake in DigiMedia, according to the company. Syntax-Brillian markets the Olevia-branded LCD TVs in the US.

DigiMedia expects that the 32-inch segment will account for 22% of its shipments to the US market this year, while the 26-inch segment will account for 16% of the shipments and the 37-inch segment will contribute 12%, the company said.

DigiMedia currently sources panels from AU Optronics (AUO), Chi Mei Optoelectronics (CMO), LG.Philips LCD (LPL) and Samsung Electronics, according to industry sources.

Kolin aims to ship 600,000 LCD TVs worldwide this year with 500,000 units going to US market, the company added. Kolin also has a plant in Taoyuan, Taiwan, which had a monthly capacity of 40,000 units at the beginning of 2006.

Following the completion of the new plant, DigiMedia aims to reach a revenue goal of NT$10 billion in 2006, Wang said. In addition, the company plans to list on NASDAQ to expand the "Olevia" brand to overseas markets, Wang added.

Syntax-Brillian CEO James Li anticipates that company's market share will be further boosted in the US amid expanding capacity at DigiMedia. Li indicated that the Olevia-brand of LCD TVs is ranked ninth worldwide (or 2.3% of the total market) and sixth or seventh in the US in the first quarter of 2006. An Olevia 47-inch LCD TV that uses an LPL panel is already available in the US market and Syntax aims to sell 50,000 of those sets this year.

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Samsung exec: No plans to cut LCD panel production
14 June 2006

HONG KONG (MarketWatch) -- Samsung Electronics Co. (005930.SE), one of the world's largest makers of liquid crystal displays, has no plans to cut its panel production at the moment as inventories are at "normal" levels, a company executive said Thursday.

Samsung's rival LCD makers in South Korea and Taiwan have said they are grappling with high inventories, which led them to cut their profit forecasts for the second quarter. LG.Philips LCD Co. (LPL) said earlier this week it doesn't expect to meet its shipment and profit margin forecasts due to high inventories of flat-panel displays. Its president also said the display maker will review its capacity plans for this year.

AU Optronics Corp. (AUO) said it cut production of LCDs by lowering its factory utilization rate to 90% currently from 95% in the first quarter. "Supply and demand balance can be maintained during a period of overcapacity if fab loading is reduced by only 5% to 10%," AU Optronics Executive Vice President Hui Hsiung said, adding a slight reduction would increase unit fixed costs by only 2% to 3%.
Hsiung said if other LCD makers take steps to reduce inventory, price stabilization in the industry could occur in the third quarter.

Based on first-quarter shipments, Samsung is the world's largest LCD maker with a 20% share of the market, followed by LG.Philips LCD with 18%, and AU Optronics with 15%, according to Texas-based market research firm DisplaySearch.

LCD makers are suffering from margin pressure as panel prices have fallen sharply in recent months.

According to Taiwan-based market research firm WitsView, the price of a 17-inch monitor panel has fallen to US$107 in early June, from US$120 at the end of April, while a 32-inch LCD TV panel has dropped to US$435 from US$475.
Analysts have said it will be inevitable for some LCD manufacturers to swing to losses in the second quarter on high inventories.

Samsung's Cho declined to comment about a possible loss at its LCD division. In addition to LCDs, Samsung makes memory chips and cellphones.

Analysts have said Samsung and LG.Philips LCD's second quarter results are likely to be hit much harder than AU Optronics and Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp. (3009.TW) due to high depreciation costs from ramping up seventh-generation facilities. In addition, the sharper appreciation of the Korean won against the U.S. dollar, relative to the New Taiwan dollar's appreciation against the U.S. currency, will likely weigh on earnings, they said.

A stronger local currency makes the LCD makers' products more expensive in key export markets, while also reducing the value of repatriated profits.

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AUO expansion plan on schedule despite cuts in 2Q shipment goals
15 June 2006

Although AU Optronics (AUO) reduced its shipment goals for the second quarter, about a week ago, because of weaker-than-expected demand, company president HB Chen maintained yesterday that AUO's expansion plans will be on schedule, with its first 7.5G plant coming online in the fourth quarter of this year. The 7.5G plant will process 10,000 substrates monthly during the initial stage of production, Chen revealed.

AUO's second 7.5G plant will kick off production in 2007, and the combined capacity of the two 7.5G plants will be 160,000 substrates per month, Chen added.

While panel makers are faced with inventory issues, Chen is optimistic that inventories in the market should be cleared in one to two months, and demand for TV panels will grow strongly in the second half of the year.

He indicated that AUO's sales in the third quarter will be stronger than those of the second quarter as a result of growing demand from the consumer-electronics and PC segments.

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Samsung and Sony ink contract for 8G LCD production
14 July 2006

Samsung Electronics and Sony today signed a contract for the construction of an eighth -generation (8G) TFT LCD production line through S-LCD, a joint venture of the two companies.

The companies plan to invest approximately US$1.9 billion (each company providing half) to establish the 8G LCD line, which will produce glass substrates approximately 2200×2500mm in size. S-LCD currently has a 7G line at Tangjeong, ChungCheongNam-Do, South Korea.

Actual production is targeted to start in fall 2007, with a monthly capacity of 50,000 glass substrates.

Together with the current 7G line, the start of the 8G line will enable both companies to expand production of large-size LCD panels for the 50-inch-range LCD TVs, of which demand is expected see a significant increase, as well as to acquire a stable supply to meet demand.

The investment amount does not include the cost of the building and land.

The two companies signed a letter of intent for the 8G production plan in April 2006

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Samsung, Sony forge ahead on Gen 8 line
14 July 2006




SEOUL, South Korea — A slumping display market did not stop Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. from finalizing a deal with Sony Corp. to jointly invest $1.9 billion to build a Gen 8 thin-film-transistor liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) fab for their joint venture LCD company S-LCD Corp., Samsung said in a report Friday (July 14).

Located in Tangjeong, South Korea, the fab will roll out mostly 46-inch and 52-inch panels when it opens in fall 2007, with a monthly capacity of 50,000 substrates. It can cut up to eight 46-inch and six 52-inch panels from a 2,200 mm x 2,500 mm glass substrate.

In April, both companies signed a letter of intent to invest in the Gen 8 facility, whose capital costs will be equally shared by both companies.

Given the massive panel inventory glut, industry experts challenged the decision to proceed with the project, questioning how quickly the large flat-screen TV market would grow justify costly capital investments by LCD panel makers.

After posting its largest ever quarterly loss, Samsung's rival LG.Philips LCD Co. Inc.said Tuesday it would put on hold plans for a Gen 8 fab in Paul, South Korea, instead building a multi-purpose Gen 5.5 fab there to produce LCD panels for wide format notebooks and high-end monitors.

S-LCD is now producing 60,000 glass substrates, sized at 1870 x 2200mm, at its Gen 7 fab in Tangjeong. It will expand capacity to 90,000 substrates monthly by Jan. 2007.

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Sharp eying 10G LCD production
19 July 2006

Sharp will invest 500 billion yen (about US4.26 billion) to build a tenth-generation (10G) TFT LCD plant, with construction to begin in the third quarter of 2007 and volume production to begin in mid-2008, according to the Japanese-language Nihon Keizai Shimbun. The plant will process 2,850×3,050mm glass substrates into eight 57-inch panels or six 65-inch panels.

Sharp declined to comment on the news.

Most panel makers in Taiwan said they will not follow suit, but revealed the possibility that a 10G LCD plant would be built in Taiwan after 2-3 years time, according to the Chinese-language Apple Daily.

Currently, the most advanced LCD plant in Taiwan is 6G, though AU Optronics (AUO) will start producing 42-inch panels from a 7.5G plant in October.

This April, Chi Mei Optoelectronics (CMO) stated it will commence volume production at its 8G plant in May 2008. However, Taiwan-based equipment makers said installation at the plant will be postponed to 2008 to avoid a clash with the recently delayed second-stage expansion of its 7.5G plant.

Sang-Wan Lee, president of Samsung Electronics' LCD business, said last October that Samsung will continue investing in 8G and 9G LCD production, and may even build 10G lines.

Market research firms remain conservative about the reported Sharp investment plan. DisplaySearch said the plan is not yet set, while the Industrial Economics and Knowledge Center (IEK) of the Taiwan government-sponsored Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) said it remains to be seen whether the huge investments required by 7.5G-and-more-advanced LCD plants are worthwhile.

Panel makers in Japan and South Korea have been competing to migrate to next-generation LCD production to be more capable in setting a standard for larger-size panels, strengthening their product mix flexibility and lowering the investment amounts for average LCD output, IEK indicated. However, the mainstream size for 50-inch-and-larger TVs is not yet clear while investments for 7.5G-and-more-advanced LCD plants are over billions of US dollars, so it is still uncertain whether the investments will generate enough profits, the research center noted.

In addition, PDP (plasma display panel) is currently more suitable for 50-inch-and-larger panels, compared with LCD, as yields are better and the investment needed is lower. The required investment for a PDP plant is one-third to one-fourth of that needed for an LCD plant, IEK indicated.

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Commentary: Global competition in 8G LCD production starts
3 August 2006

When Sharp recently announced that it would be starting eighth-generation (8G) LCD production this month, rather than in October as originally planned, and when Sony and Samsung's joint ventire, S-LCD, is said to also bring forward its 8G schedule, with production starting in June 2007 rather than August 2007, one could say that global competition in 8G TFT LCD had finally kicked off.

Sharp has been able to move forward its schedule for the 8G line because construction of the plant has been relatively smooth, and an early start in volume production should help meet rising demand for LCD TVs at the end of 2006. The move also reflects Sharp's optimistic view of the large-size LCD-TV market. The maker hopes to stay ahead in the 50-inch-and-above segment, while establishing its brand influence as early as possible.

The plant will use 8G glass substrates (2,160×2,460 mm), about double the size of the 6G substrates (1,500×1,800mm) utilized by the company's Kameyama Plant No. 1, a facility that produces LCD panels for 30-inch LCD TVs. The 8G glass substrates are suitable for LCD panels utilized in 40- and 50-inch LCD TVs, according to Sharp.

The monthly capacity of the plant will reach 15,000 substrates per month, initially, and 30,000 per month with the start of a second production line in March 2007, Sharp said.

Panel makers indicated that the 8G plant from Sharp will initially focus on 46- and 52-inch panels, with 47-inch panels also scheduled for production, according to market conditions. S-LCD will also aim to produce 46- and 52-inch panels for its new 8G plant, the panel makers said.

On the other hand, Chi Mei Optoelectronics (CMO) and LG.Philips LCD are behind in their 8G LCD production schedules.

CMO may postpone equipment installation at its 8G production line until 2008, to avoid a clash with the recently delayed second-stage expansion at its 7.5G plant, according to sources at domestic TFT-LCD equipment makers. The sources indicated that CMO has decided to process 8G TFT LCD (2,200×2,500mm) substrates, similar to S-LCD's decision on its 8G standard.

CMO commented that its next-generation production plan depends on market needs, and it is still at the evaluation stage.

Prior to this reported 8G delay, LG.Philips LCD recorded a huge loss in the second quarter and decided to establish a new 5.5G production line instead of an 8G line, As well, it has lowered the monthly output from its 7.5G line from 90,000 substrates to 75,000. LG.Philips LCD may delay the production of a new 5.5G plant by one quarter (the original timeframe was June 2007), with the investment plan for an 8G plant also postponed, according to the Chinese-language Commercial Times.

Nevertheless, Taiwan-based panel makers indicated that the cost efficiency of using a 5.5G plant to produce 50-inch-and-above panels is not necessarily lower than that of using an 8G plant prior to the maturation of materials and manufacturing processes for 8G LCD production.

The glass-substrate utilization rate when 5.5G substrates are used to produce 55- and 56-inch panels can reach above 90%, while the utilization rate for 52-inch panels is over 80%, the makers noted.

However, Taiwan-based panel makers such as CMO will still face issues such as support from branded makers for 50-inch-and-larger panels. In addition, with Sharp's 8G production now being brought foward, the company expects to capture 20-30% of the 50 inches-and-above LCD-TV market, sources said.

Sharp ranked third overall, with 11% of the global LCD-TV market in the first quarter of 2006 (following Samsung and Royal Philips Electronics), according to the Japanese-language Nikkei BR, citing figures from Japan-based Techno Systems Research (TSR).

Jan 2005 : Sharp : Aimed to volume produce 8G panels by Oct 2006
Jul 2005 : Samsung : Announced operation of 8G plant by 2007, of 9G plant by 2009
Jan 2006 : Samsung : Volume production of 7G plant, three months earlier than expected
Mar 2006 : CMO : Said to plan on 6G and 8G production, the latter to start volume production in 2008
Jul 2006 : LG.Philips LCD : Announced delay of 8G plant construction, to focus on 5.5G plant
Jul 2006 : AUO : Announced delay of 2nd-phase capacity expansion for 7.5G plant and QDI’s 6G plant till 2008
Aug 2006 : Sharp : Announced earlier volume production plan for 8G plant
Aug 2006 : AUO : Announced first 7.5G-plant-made 42-inch panel

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They are building it, but will LCD sales come?
10 October 2006

Ask Jack Lin about his plan to help his company, Chi Mei Optoelectronics, catch up with its bigger South Korean and Japanese rivals in the flat-screen TV market and he offers a vision of a vast sugar cane field in southern Taiwan in answer.

There, construction is under way on a 250-hectare multibillion-dollar liquid crystal display (LCD) manufacturing hub, where Chi Mei plans to bring together a cluster of domestic and foreign component makers to produce slim television sets.

With South Korean market leaders Samsung Electronics and LG.Philips LCD way ahead of the game with their huge LCD hubs, smaller rivals in Taiwan and China are playing catch-up with plans to develop their own "crystal valleys", at a cost of billions of US dollars.

"We hope we can compete with them after material integration," Mr Lin, vice-president of Chi Mei, said in a recent interview at company headquarters in the Tainan Science Park on the southern part of the island.

Mr Lin says the site will eventually become an LCD manufacturing megaplex with a production target value of $T200 billion (more than $A8 billion) a year.

Across the Taiwan Strait in Shanghai, SVA Group, China's rising LCD star, announced plans late last year for its own $US6 billion ($A8 billion) LCD megaplex, with the aim of cranking out $US10 billion worth of panels and related components annually by 2010.

SVA's main rival in China, BOE Technology, scored another market victory when industry giant Corning said earlier this year it would set up its first Chinese LCD glass factory in BOE's home town of Beijing.

Creating such hubs can save about 10 per cent in costs, through closer co-operation in product design and shorter delivery times, says Mr Lin.

But even as the up-and-comers prepare to spend and attract billions of dollars for their new hubs, some say it may be too little too late for them to catch up with their Korean and Japanese competitors.

Samsung, the world's second-biggest LCD maker, has built a massive complex in a town south of Seoul, spread over 200 hectares, with another site of equal size set aside for expansion. That complex includes a joint venture producing panels with Japan's Sony Corp.

The leading global player, LG.Philips LCD, has its own cluster of 170 hectares devoted to production, with another 290 hectares for its parts suppliers.

"South Korea leads in scale," says Park Hyun, an analyst at Prudential Securities in Seoul.

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Samsung and Sony's Win-Win LCD Venture
28 November 2006

One is a South Korean upstart that has really only achieved premium, global-brand stature this decade; the other is a fabled Japanese consumer electronics titan. Samsung Electronics and Sony are also fierce industry rivals with killer instincts to succeed - often at each other's expense. Still, they have pulled off one of the most interesting and fruitful collaborations in global high-tech by jointly producing liquid-crystal display [LCD] panels. And it's an alliance that is reshaping the industry.

The two companies broke ground in 2004 for the joint venture, called S-LCD, in Tangjeong, about 55 miles south of Seoul. On both sides the alliance was controversial, all the more so since Sony pulled out of a Japanese-state-backed LCD-panel development group to make it happen.

Early on, Sony also had concerns about quality. The company not only dispatched its own engineers to the joint venture to vet LCD displays, it also insisted that every panel it used be shipped through its LCD-TV factory in Inazawa, near Nagoya, Japan. There the panels went through another rigorous quality check before electronics such as digital tuners, power units, and other components were added. Only then were they packaged into TVs or shipped off as modules to assembly plants in Spain and Mexico.

Bravia New World

Now, however, panels are being shipped directly from S-LCD to the assembly plants. And even Sony execs concede the venture has been instrumental in the company's introduction of the hugely successful Bravia LCD-TV lineup, a rare bit of good news at the Japanese company.

At the same time, Samsung's own LCD-TV business has made big strides. The South Korean giant has emerged as a trend-setter in the LCD-panel industry, aided by Sony technology that has helped ensure high-quality, sharp TV pictures. Now the two are vying for leadership in thin, widescreen TVs alongside Matsu****a Electric Industrial, which owns the Panasonic brand.

"The Sony-Samsung alliance is certainly a win-win," declares Lee Sang Wan, president of Samsung's LCD unit. Sony's Executive Deputy-President Katsumi Ihara, who has led Sony's TV division and was recently appointed to oversee key consumer-electronics product lines, also credits the alliance with helping revive the company's LCD-TV business fortunes.

LCDs Overtake Plasma

"If there had been no S-LCD venture, Sony's LCD-TV business would not be what it is today," he said in an interview with a group of Tokyo-based technology journalists back in April.

The alliance has also had an industry-wide impact, especially in the TV market for sets in the 40-in. screen class. The large-screen segment had been dominated by plasma TVs until S-LCD started providing LCD screens at a cost comparable to that of plasma panels. In the third quarter of 2006, some 2.32 million LCD TVs were sold and for the first time overtook plasma-screen sets, which sold 1.96 million units. U.S.-based researcher DisplaySearch predicts the gap will widen in the fourth quarter to 3.68 million for LCD vs. 2.65 million for plasma [see BusinessWeek.com, 10/4/06, "Big-TV Battle: LCD vs. Plasma"].

The LCD-TV business is the fastest-growing segment for sets sold globally, too. In the July-September quarter, LCD-TV sales doubled from year-ago levels to a record 10.8 million sets, and Samsung led the way in terms of sales for the first time ever, according to DisplaySearch.

New Pecking Order

LCD TVs made up 24% of the world's set sales in unit terms, up from 22% in the previous quarter. Consumers have continued to trade in their bulky cathode-ray tube sets for sleeker, bigger screens. By value, LCD TVs accounted for 48% of the global market with revenues surging 84% year-on-year to a quarterly record of $11.9 billion.

The birth of S-LCD also changed the pecking order among LCD-TV makers. Until two years ago, Japan's Sharp was the clear leader with its Aquos models. Although Sony's Trinitron models ruled the industry for decades in the analog age, the company neglected to develop flat-panel technologies, which forced it to buy expensive panels from others - a formula that helped Sony rack up mounting TV-segment losses. But S-LCD improved the fortunes of Sony's TV business overall.

With a multimillion-dollar ad blitz promoting Bravia's high picture quality, the new models were a smash hit when introduced in the summer of 2005 in the U.S. By the end of last year, Sony's LCD TVs vaulted to the world's No.1 spot. It turned out to be temporary, however, and alliance or no alliance, Samsung and Sony are still vying for leadership in the widescreen TV arena.

Tidy Profits

Samsung countered with its new Bordeaux model that helped the Korean company take a 15.6% share of global LCD-TV revenues in the third quarter of this year, edging out Sony's 15.2% and Sharp's 11.5%. A year earlier, Samsung's share was all of 10.3% [see BusinessWeek.com, 6/13/06, "Sony's Color-rich Bravia"]. That sales expansion has also translated into tidy profits for the South Korean company.

Samsung earned $167 million on sales of $3.14 billion in its LCD-panel business in the July-September quarter. That's a margin of 5% - not so impressive but still respectable in an LCD industry hampered by cutthroat competition that has forced rapid price declines. The profit is in stark contrast to a $341 million loss reported in the quarter by its crosstown rival LG.Philips LCD, which began mass-producing 42-in. and 47-in. LCD panels in January (see BusinessWeek.com, 6/8/06, "LCDs Display Their Flaws").

Samsung execs attribute the company's favorable performance to its partnership with Sony. "Our alliance with Sony allowed us to benefit from a virtuous circle: Bravia's success boosted sales of LCD panels, and volume meant lower costs which fed greater sales of LCD TVs," says Cho Yeong Duk, vice-president at Samsung in charge of the company's LCD business strategy. The "rivalry with Sony also helped Samsung to bring out better LCD products to the market," he adds.

LG.Philips: Not So Hot

The S-LCD joint venture [and Samsung's own LCD plants] benefits from the fact that Sony and Samsung are the world's two biggest LCD-TV makers, with a huge appetite for panels. About 80% of more than 10 million TV panels produced at the joint venture [and at a Samsung plant] during its first 18 months of operation have been shipped to the Samsung and Sony TV operations.

Compare that to LG.Philips LCD, controlled jointly by Philips of Holland and Korea's LG Electronics. It ships only 40% of its output to its major shareholders. "Most of our clients are plasma specialists and their LCD TVs are not so strong," admits Vice-President Lee Bang Soo at LG.Philips, the largest LCD-panel maker until last year.

No doubt about it: the LG.Philips venture is struggling. Already the company has cut its capital spending program by more than $1 billion, thanks to weak demand. It has also put on hold a plan to build a so-called eighth generation plant aimed at cutting 50-in. or bigger panels. Instead, it is building a "5.5-generation" factory that will make a mix of computer monitors, notebook panels, and smaller TV panels, adjusting volume to demand.

Building a New Plant

By contrast, S-LCD is pressing ahead. The venture, which spent $2.6 billion for the seventh-generation plant designed to make 40-in. class panels, is now building a $3 billion eighth-generation plant. In a couple of years, it will throw down the gauntlet to the plasma camp in the 50-in. class market. "We expect at least 2 million LCD TVs will be sold in 2008 in the 50-in. class," says Samsung's Lee. "By then, consumers will be able to buy a 50-in. TV at the price of a 40 -in. TV now."

Analysts say a widening investment gap between S-LCD and the rest of the industry pack will likely give the Sony-Samsung venture a clear lead in LCD-TV screens. "It's a typical Samsung strategy of betting big, weathering industry consolidation, and then basking in windfall profits," says Rhee Namuh, Merrill Lynch head of research in Seoul.

Sony also stands to benefit, given the cost savings, if it can keep developing popular LCD-TV models such as the Bravia. That said, Sony is looking to procure small LCD panels outside the S-LCD joint venture. Still, this oddest of alliances between two cutthroat competitors so far seems to be working out for both sides.

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Sharp to build new flat TV plant in Mexico, boost output at home in bid to regain lead
12 January 2007

TOKYO: Trying to regain its lead in the liquid crystal display TV market, Sharp Corp. announced plans to boost output with a 8 billion yen (US$66.3 million; €51 million) factory in Mexico and a new production line at a domestic plant.

Sharp, once the undisputed global leader in LCD TVs, has fallen behind rivals as it struggled to meet surging global demand for flat-panel televisions. It now holds about 12 percent of the global LCD TV market, putting it behind Sony Corp., Samsung Electronics Co. and Philips Electronics NV.

Sharp President Katsuhiko Machida told reporters in Tokyo said the new 8 billion yen (US$66.3 million; €51 million) Mexican factory will produce finished televisions in North America for the first time, greatly bolstering the company's ability to feed the key U.S. market.

"By building a robust supply setup, we hope to be even more aggressive in our global business," Machida said.

The plant will be built on the grounds of the company's present LCD module plant in Baja California and is expected to go online in July, with a preliminary production of 200,000 finished TVs a month, Machida said. Sharp will triple LCD monthly module output at its plant in Poland to 300,000 units by the end of 2007, he added.

The Osaka-based company also said that it will triple production of large LCD panels at its state-of-the-art Kameyama No. 2 plant in western Japan to 90,000 sheets a month by the end of 2008, from the current 30,000.

The Kameyama plant, which lets Sharp lower production costs by making more panels from a single sheet of glass than its rivals, is seen as critical in Sharp's ambitions.

Keeping production costs low is crucial in the LCD TV market, where prices have plunged over the past year, hurting profits.

Machida said he hoped to reverse that trend by raising production of bigger, more expensive TVs, which have a bigger profit margin. Just this month, Sharp unveiled a mammoth, 108-inch LCD TV at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, topping a 103-inch plasma TV shown by Matsu****a Electric Industrial Co. last year.

Sharp aims to raise the percentage of TVs 40 inches and larger to 40 percent of global unit sales in fiscal 2007 from 12 percent in 2006, Machida said. Overall, the company aims to sell 9 million LCD TV units worldwide, up 50 percent from 2006, amid an expected jump in global demand.

With larger screens, Sharp also hopes to take on Matsu****a, the plasma TV market leader. Plasma, also used in slimmer TVs, is a different technology from LCDs and are generally cheaper and easier to manufacture in big sizes.

Sharp's strategies have been paying off. Machida said the company forecast sales of 3.3 trillion yen (US$27.5 billion) for the fiscal year through March 2008, up 10 percent from the previous year.

The company's shares, which have rebounded since slumping in mid-2006, rose 0.25 percent to 1,985 yen on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Friday. Machida spoke after markets closed.

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Samsung: 10G LCD production on the way
11 April 2007

After Sharp raised eyebrows by announcing plans for building a tenth-generation (10G) LCD panel production line, Samsung Electronics indicated that it is now assessing the glass substrate size for its 10G line, though no set construction schedule has been fixed, according to company executive vice president of LCD and R&D center Jun H. Souk at the recent Finetech Japan.

Souk indicated that Samsung is working closely with equipment makers and is now in talks with glass substrate makers about size issues as the size of the glass substrate will be very considerable compared with previous generation substrates.

Concerning progress at Samsung’s eighth-generation (8G) line, Souk said the company will commence volume production ahead of schedule by two months in August and end products should hit the market by 2008. The main LCD panel sizes will be 46- and 52-inches.

Contrasting to Samsung’s faster-than-expected progress on 8G panel production, Taiwan makers including AU Optronics (AUO) and Chi Mei Optoelectronics (CMO)’s 8G schedules are still uncertain.

Commenting on the LCD TV industry trend, Souk said the frequency of migrating to larger sizes is one year, compared with 2-3 years in the past, while implying that panel makers are seeing shrinking profit margins along with a faster product cycle. He added that Samsung witnessed more obvious cyclical fluctuation since 2007 and he believes that the industry will have oversupply in the first half of 2007 but a shortage in the latter half of this year.

Souk pointed out that the number of major panel makers has grown from three to five since 2000, with AU Optronics (AUO) and Chi Mei Optoelectronics (CMO) now joining Samsung, LG.Philips LCD (LPL) and Sharp as the major industry players. These five makers combined to account for 75% of the market in 2006.

However, Souk believes that the future panel market will be dominated by only two makers, though he declined to mention which two players.

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CMO bullish on 2Q, eying 8G LCD production
27 April 2007

Demand for the panel industry has rebounded in the second quarter, with prices for most TV- and PC-use panels on the rise amid low inventory levels at the system side, Chao-yang Ho, president of Chi Mei Optoelectronics (CMO), said on April 26 at a company investor conference. Ho also indicated the maker is on its way to migrate to eighth-generation (8G) LCD production.

Of the panel shipments from CMO for the full year of 2007, the ratio of the first and second half will remain 4:6, with the second half to see strong demand on seasonal effects, Ho said. CMO now sees its plants almost running at full capacity, compared to only 80-85% in the first quarter of 2007, Ho added.

Although AU Optronics (AUO) recently said it will skip 8G and invest directly on more advanced plants, CMO has a different strategy.

Optimistic on the 50-inch class LCD TV market, CMO will not give up on 8G LCD production, Ho stressed.

The maker is building an 8G plant at Kaohsiung Science Park (KSP), but the volume production schedule is still being evaluated, Ho said.

A piece of 8G glass substrate can be cut into six 52-inch TV panels, Ho added.

In addition, Ho said CMO will continue establishing LCD plants more advanced than 8G.

In related news, the test run of the first-phase production at CMO's 7.5G plant went well and should enter volume production in May, reaching a 50,000-glass substrate monthly capacity before year-end. The second-phase production of the plant will see equipment installation in fourth quarter 2007, with volume production to commence in the second quarter of 2008. Ho revealed.

For its 6G plant, although volume production at the plant was originally scheduled to occur in the fourth quarter of 2007, new capacity from the plant will not be ramped up until 2008, CMO said.

CMO reported it has swung to a loss during the first quarter of 2007, with net profits turning from a positive NT$436 million (US$13 million) in the fourth quarter of 2006 to a negative of NT$1.1 billion in the first quarter amid panel ASP (average selling price) reductions.

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Sharp to produce 57- and 65-inch panels at new 10G plant, says paper
7 June 2007

Sharp will volume produce 57- and 65-inch TV panels at a tenth-generation (10G) TFT LCD plant, which starts operation in fiscal year 2009 (the year ended March 2010), according to the Japanese-language FujiSankei Business i.

Each of the 10G glass substrates from the new plant will be able to be cut into eight 57-inch or six 65-inch panels, the website reported.

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Winning in the Market by Commoditizing 42-Inch LCD panels: Analysis on Sharp 10G Plant
22 May 2007

"We have no news right now and will make our decision by summer as we scheduled," said a spokesperson from Sharp Corp.'s PR department. Asked comment on newspapers reporting the company plans to build its new LCD panel plant to follow Kameyama Plant No.2 in Sakai, Osaka, Sharp neither admitted nor denied the report, reiterating its previous comment. The company immediately posted a similar comment on its website as well.

Making 42-inch LCD TVs "a commodity"

There have been other reports on where Sharp will locate its new plant thus far. As for the abovementioned site in Sakai, many see it is the company's favorite candidate at present based on its relatively low price. Other positive factors include the strong foundation ground that stems from its location adjacent to iron mills and well-prepared infrastructures for marine and land transport. Considering Sharp plans to release an official announcement in "around summer," the new plant is estimated to start operation in around spring 2009 at earliest. Techno Systems Research Co., Ltd.'s Shusuke Hayashi, however, points out "Sharp might accelerate the schedule" depending on circumstances of its other plants and the market. The new plant is expected to manufacture LCD panels using 10th generation (10G) substrates that measure nearly 3 x 3 m. "The new plant is primarily aimed at the commoditization of 42-inch LCD panels, along with full-scale production of 60-digit-inch panels that can be manufactured at a high efficiency using 10G substrates," Hayashi analyzes.

At Kameyama Plant No.2 with an 8G line (using glass substrates measuring 2,160 x 2,460 mm), which is optimal for volume production of 52-, 46- and 42-inch LCD panels, Sharp has repeatedly doubled the amount of material glass substrates since its operation started in August 2006 to 30,000 sheets per month in January 2007 and 60,000 sheets per month in July 2007 (plan). On a 42-inch panel basis, an 8G substrate is made into 8 units, while a 10G substrate is believed to be able to make 15 units, which leads to a nearly twice-higher production efficiency per area, if manufactured at the same takt time. If Sharp energizes its marketing of its 42-inch products, in which competition is intensified with plasma TVs, "It will be a threat for PDP manufacturers," Hayashi indicated.

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Sharp finalizes 10G LCD glass substrate size
5 July 2007

Sharp has finalized the glass substrate standard to be used at its planned tenth-generation (10G) LCD plant in Japan, with a larger than originally planned size being scheduled, according to sources at equipment suppliers.

Glass substrates at the 10G plant will be 2,880mm × 3,080mm, whereas the originally planned size was 2,850mm × 3,050mm, the sources revealed. The 10G plant will focus on production of 57- and 65-inch panels, but the glass substrate size could be also cut into 15 42-inch panels, the sources added.

Whether rivals from South Korea and Taiwan will move forward to 10G lines depends largely on Sharp's 65-inch LCD TV sales, industry players commented. With Samsung Electronics having already noted that it has started assessing substrate sizes for its potential 10G line, some industry watchers believe that when standards for large-size (32- to 70-inch) LCD TVs are settled along with 10G production standards, Samsung is likely to follow suit.

However, some industry players also noted that Samsung maintains some flexibility in its production options. If sales of 65-inch LCD TV panels are not good enough, Samsung may choose to produce large-size panels from other sizes of glass substrate, instead of at a 10G line, they commented.

LG.Philips LCD (LPL), in the meantime, is expected to follow Sharp's standard on 10G panel production, given that the company now has less power over next-generation panel standardization after Royal Philips reduced its influence at the company.

While 10G plants are still in the early stages, panel makers are also making progress on their eight-generation (8G) production. S-LCD, a joint-venture (JV) between Samsung and Sony, will begin volume production at its 8G line in July on schedule whereas LPL's 8G production is also slated to begin in 2008.

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Japan's Sharp to build huge new LCD panel plant
31 July 2007

TOKYO -- Sharp Corp. said Tuesday that it would invest about $3.2 billion in a huge new plant making liquid crystal display (LCD) panels for large screen televisions - a key battleground for electronics makers.

The pioneer of LCD screens aims to increase its competitive edge over rivals with the high-tech new plant, which it hopes will drive down costs.

Sharp also unveiled plans to construct the world's largest solar cell plant with an undisclosed investment, betting on an increase in the use of residential systems harnessing the energy of the sun to produce electricity.

Both are due to start operating by March 2010 in the western city of Sakai.

The LCD panel plant will be the first in the world to use 10th-generation glass substrates, which at 2.85 by 3.05 meters are the world's biggest and 60 percent larger than those used at its existing Kameyama plant, it said.

This would make it "possible to fabricate LCD panels for large-screen TVs with extremely high levels of efficiency," the electronics maker said.

It plans to spend 380 billion yen on the plant, which will be its third LCD factory in Japan. Construction is slated to begin in November.

Some 72,000 substrates - which can each yield six 60-inch panels, or more for smaller ones - will be fed into the plant each month.

The new plant would allow Sharp to produce a fuller lineup of LCD television panels of all sizes, boosting its financial competitiveness, said Masahiko Ishino, an electronics analyst at Mitsubishi UFJ Securities.

"While gradually expanding the LCD division it is trying to build a new business model out of its solar cell panels," he added. "An LCD factory's initial costs are high so if Sharp can share them with the solar cell factory, it is very efficient to build the two things on one site," said Ishino.

Sharp said that it hoped to attract glass substrate and color filter makers to set up plants adjacent to the new factory to reduce distribution costs.

US Corning Inc. and Japan's Asahi Glass are among firms expected to work in the park, said Sharp spokesman Yukihiko Ishino.

"By concentrating related factories, we are aiming to promote streamlining," he said.

Sharp has cashed in on a boom in demand for flat TVs as consumers swap their old tube sets for ultra thin new ones.

Sharp makes all of its LCD panels in Japan and then ships them off to assembly plants around the world producing its Aquos-brand televisions.

Despite brisk sales, Japanese electronics makers and their foreign rivals such as Samsung Electronics of South Korea are waging a fierce price war in flat TVs, weighing on their profit margins and requiring them to cut costs.

Sharp shares rose 30 yen or 1.5 percent at 2,060 on media reports of the new plants, details of which were announced after the close of trade.

[Additional details from Digitimes]

Solar cell plant

The solar cell plant will focus on mass production of thin-film solar cells. Plans call for a production volume of around 1,000 MW (one million kW) per year for the thin-film solar cells to be manufactured at the facility. This level is expected to maximize economies of scale, and make the factory the largest solar cell plant in the world. Operations are slated to begin at same time as the LCD panel plant.

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Quarterly production of LCD panels reaching the 100 million mark
31 July 2007

The production of 10+inch LCD panels used for monitors, laptops and TVs is expected to surpass the 100 million market in the third quarter for the first time.

According to the industry on July 29, 10+ inch LCD production was recorded at more than 19 million in Samsung Electronics, LG Philips LCD and AUO, the top 3 makers. Therefore, the figure in total was expected at more than 95 million units. This is a 22 % increase from the first quarter and a 54% increase from the same period of last year. In addition, the figure is more than the highest record of 80 million set in the fourth quarter of last year.

The growth is largely thanks to the increased prices of LCD for laptops and monitors despite the seasonal slowdown factors of the second quarter of the year, which drove LCD makers to increase the production of panels for IT rather than TVs. Panels for IT are mainly 10 or 20 inch, so that production is 5-~100% higher compared to 30 or 40 inch TV panels.

In fact, the laptop panel production of May in Samsung Electronics and LG Philips LCD rose 27% and 33% respectively from the previous month. In contrast, TV panel production increased only 5% during the same period.

The industry expects that the trend would continue in the third quarter, which is the pick season and the shipments of panels (10-inch and over) in the quarter would amount to 100 million units for the first time as Samsung Electronics and LPL plan to expand their production capacity by 30%, at most, with more investments.

In the meantime, LPL ranked first with 19.9 million units, followed by AUO with 19.6 million units and Samsung Electronics with 19.5 million units in the second quarter in terms of the shipments of panels (10-inch and over).m/avs-vb/showthread.php?p=7714625#post7714625]LCD TVs: Technology Advancements Thread[/url]

Plasma TVs: Market Price Stats Thread

OLED TVs: Technology Advancements Thread
TDEL TVs: Technology Advancements Thread
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Samsung, LG.Philips Start New LCD Lines
1 January 2006



LG.Philips workers hold up a liquid-crystal display (LCD) plate before it is cut
into eight 42-inch TV panels on the first day of operation at its seventh-generation line
in Paju, Kyonggi Province, Sunday.


Samsung Electronics and LG.Philips LCD simultaneously started the mass production of larger TV panels at their newest fabrication lines on Sunday, foretelling an uphill battle for the leadership of the liquid-crystal display (LCD) market.

LG.Philips LCD, a joint venture between LG Electronics and Royal Philips Electronics, announced on Sunday that it opened its seventh-generation LCD factory in Paju, north of Seoul. Samsung, the current market leader, also said that it started mass production at its second seventh-generation LCD line in Tangjong, south of Seoul, named 7-2 Line.

Both Samsung and LG Philips factories will churn out 45,000 LCD plates per month.

The opening of the new facilities are a few months ahead of the companies’ original plans, as they are competing to gain control of the industry standard for LCD panel size. Samsung cuts one seventh-generation plate into eight 40-inch panels or six 46-inch panels, while LG.Philips makes eight 42-inch or six 47-inch panels.

“The mass production at Line 7-2 is deemed a major watershed for Samsung Electronics, giving the company an advantageous position in standardizing LCD TVs around 40 inches and 46 inches,’’ Samsung Electronics said in a statement.

For its part LG.Philips said: “LG.Philips will focus on producing panels for 42-inch TVs and will increase the production volume of 47-inch panels in the future in order to strengthen their dominance in the large-size LCD TV market.’’

The early opening of the facilities are also aimed to meet the soaring demands of large-size LCD TV sets ahead of several big sports events in 2006, such as the Winter Olympic Games in February and the 2006 World Cup in June. Research firm DisplaySearch forecasts that the global market for large-sized flat-panel TVs will grow to 8.9 million units this year from 5.4 million in 2005.

Samsung is the leading LCD panel manufacturer in the world, with its sales reaching $10.1 billion in the first eleven months of 2005. LG.Philips follows Samsung at $9.1 trillion, according to DisplaySearch.

Samsung said that it invested 2.3 trillion won in its new line and plans to make an additional 1.8 trillion-won investment in the second half of the year for a full-scale production capacity of 90,000 sheets per month.

Currently, Samsung is operating the two seventh-generation lines in Tangjong through its joint venture with Sony. The company estimates that it will produce a combined 165,000 LCD sheets per month, or 1.3 million 40-inch panels at full capacity with the two lines.

LG.Philips said it took only one month after the pilot production to start mass production in its Paju factory. The company plans to expand the production capacity from the initial volume of 45,000 sheets per month to 90,000, or 720,000 panels for 42-inch TVs, by the first quarter of 2007.

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S-LCD Announces Expansion of Monthly Production Capacity for 7th Generation Amorphous Silicon TFT LCD Display Panels - up to 90,000 Panels
19 April 2006

S-LCD Corporation (hereafter S-LCD) today decided on an additional investment of 28 billion JPY for existing 7th generation production facility expansion. The investment will be funded by S-LCD itself.

S-LCD currently operates with a monthly production capacity of 60,000 panels (7th generation substrates) which are integrated into both Samsung and Sony LCD TVs.The production capacity is already expected to expand to 75,000 panels per month by July 2006. The investment announced today will further increase the capacity by 15,000 panels a month resulting in a 90,000 panel monthly capacity by beginning of 2007.

S-LCD will continue to be a stable amorphous silicon TFT LCD panel production supplier for both Samsung and Sony.

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CMO more aggressive than AUO in next-generation LCD migration
26 April 2006

Chi Mei Optoelectronics (CMO) is more aggressive than rival AU Optronics (AUO) in migrating to next-generation LCD production, as it recently announced plans to double its 7.5-generation (7.5G) LCD capacity while confirming its 8G LCD plant construction plan is on track.

CMO expects to start second-stage capacity expansion at its 7.5G plant, with equipment installation to commence in the second quarter of 2007. The overall scheduled capacity will double to 100,000 glass substrates per month by the fourth quarter of 2007, the company said.

In addition, the company recently started land development at its first 8G plant. The 8G plant will focus on the over-50-inch segment, Ho added.

CMO expects the 42-inch LCD TVs segment to become the mainstream for the living room in the future and the company will focus on the 40-inch and above TV panel segment, said CMO president Chao-yang Ho.

Once prices of 42-inch LCD TVs drop to US$1,999, end user demand will surely pick up, Ho said.

Besides, CMO is optimistic about the price competitiveness of using 5G plants to produce 40-inch-range TV panels, as its 5G yields have reached 90% and the material costs are currently lower than those from 7.5G plants. CMO’s new 5G plant will enter volume production in the third quarter of this year and will focus on 42- and 47-inch panels initially.

AUO, on the other hand, is betting on the 30-50-inch TV panel market.

The panel maker recently said at its investors conference that it is in no hurry to migrate to 8G LCD production and will aim at expanding capacity at its 6G and 7.5G plants.

The price difference of the 50-inch-range LCD and PDP (plasma display panel) TVs is still big and AUO expects the 30-50-inch segment to still dominate the LCD TV market over the next three years, the company said.

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CPT to begin construction of new LCD panel plant in 4Q, but generation not decided
23 May 2006

Chunghwa Picture Tubes (CPT) said today it will begin construction of a new LCD panel plant at the Central Taiwan Science Park (CTSP) on October 1, but it has yet to decide whether the new line will be a fifth-generation (5G) or 7.5G plant.

CPT said it has yet to decide which generation is more cost-efficient for putting out 40-inch-and-larger TV applications, with the determining factor being how fast and by how much prices for 7.5G glass substrates decrease.

With 7.5G glass substrates each costing about 45,000 yen (US$404.5), it is more cost efficient to focus on 5G production at the moment.

If 7.5G substrate prices remain high, CPT said it will not rule out building a 5G plant at CTSP.

The company revealed that its current combined shipments of 32- and 37-inch panels have reached 80,000 panels a month, and its chief clients for the segments are from Japan and Korea. Clients from China account for about 30% of the shipments, it added.

The panel maker said its shipment goal for TV applications this year is 3.5 million panels, while its OA (office application) shipments currently total 900,000 units per month and its 20-inch widescreen panel shipments total 20,000-30,000 units. The panel maker estimates that its shipments of 15.4- and 17-inch panels will reach 5.5 million and 10-11 million units, respectively, this year.

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Kolin affiliate opens new plant
6 June 2006




LCD TV manufacturer DigiMedia Technology, an affiliate of Kolin, on June 5 opened a new LCD TV plant in Tainan. The new plant will have two production lines, with the annual capacity expected to reach 400,000 units, said DigiMedia CEO and vice chairman Edie Wang. Wang added that the plant will supply Kolin's Olevia-brand LCD TV shipments to the US market.

DigiMedia produces most of Kolin's LCD TVs including its Olevia-branded and Kolin-branded products. Kolin stated it has a 40% stake in DigiMedia, according to the company. Syntax-Brillian markets the Olevia-branded LCD TVs in the US.

DigiMedia expects that the 32-inch segment will account for 22% of its shipments to the US market this year, while the 26-inch segment will account for 16% of the shipments and the 37-inch segment will contribute 12%, the company said.

DigiMedia currently sources panels from AU Optronics (AUO), Chi Mei Optoelectronics (CMO), LG.Philips LCD (LPL) and Samsung Electronics, according to industry sources.

Kolin aims to ship 600,000 LCD TVs worldwide this year with 500,000 units going to US market, the company added. Kolin also has a plant in Taoyuan, Taiwan, which had a monthly capacity of 40,000 units at the beginning of 2006.

Following the completion of the new plant, DigiMedia aims to reach a revenue goal of NT$10 billion in 2006, Wang said. In addition, the company plans to list on NASDAQ to expand the "Olevia" brand to overseas markets, Wang added.

Syntax-Brillian CEO James Li anticipates that company's market share will be further boosted in the US amid expanding capacity at DigiMedia. Li indicated that the Olevia-brand of LCD TVs is ranked ninth worldwide (or 2.3% of the total market) and sixth or seventh in the US in the first quarter of 2006. An Olevia 47-inch LCD TV that uses an LPL panel is already available in the US market and Syntax aims to sell 50,000 of those sets this year.

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Samsung exec: No plans to cut LCD panel production
14 June 2006

HONG KONG (MarketWatch) -- Samsung Electronics Co. (005930.SE), one of the world's largest makers of liquid crystal displays, has no plans to cut its panel production at the moment as inventories are at "normal" levels, a company executive said Thursday.

Samsung's rival LCD makers in South Korea and Taiwan have said they are grappling with high inventories, which led them to cut their profit forecasts for the second quarter. LG.Philips LCD Co. (LPL) said earlier this week it doesn't expect to meet its shipment and profit margin forecasts due to high inventories of flat-panel displays. Its president also said the display maker will review its capacity plans for this year.

AU Optronics Corp. (AUO) said it cut production of LCDs by lowering its factory utilization rate to 90% currently from 95% in the first quarter. "Supply and demand balance can be maintained during a period of overcapacity if fab loading is reduced by only 5% to 10%," AU Optronics Executive Vice President Hui Hsiung said, adding a slight reduction would increase unit fixed costs by only 2% to 3%.
Hsiung said if other LCD makers take steps to reduce inventory, price stabilization in the industry could occur in the third quarter.

Based on first-quarter shipments, Samsung is the world's largest LCD maker with a 20% share of the market, followed by LG.Philips LCD with 18%, and AU Optronics with 15%, according to Texas-based market research firm DisplaySearch.

LCD makers are suffering from margin pressure as panel prices have fallen sharply in recent months.

According to Taiwan-based market research firm WitsView, the price of a 17-inch monitor panel has fallen to US$107 in early June, from US$120 at the end of April, while a 32-inch LCD TV panel has dropped to US$435 from US$475.
Analysts have said it will be inevitable for some LCD manufacturers to swing to losses in the second quarter on high inventories.

Samsung's Cho declined to comment about a possible loss at its LCD division. In addition to LCDs, Samsung makes memory chips and cellphones.

Analysts have said Samsung and LG.Philips LCD's second quarter results are likely to be hit much harder than AU Optronics and Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp. (3009.TW) due to high depreciation costs from ramping up seventh-generation facilities. In addition, the sharper appreciation of the Korean won against the U.S. dollar, relative to the New Taiwan dollar's appreciation against the U.S. currency, will likely weigh on earnings, they said.

A stronger local currency makes the LCD makers' products more expensive in key export markets, while also reducing the value of repatriated profits.

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AUO expansion plan on schedule despite cuts in 2Q shipment goals
15 June 2006

Although AU Optronics (AUO) reduced its shipment goals for the second quarter, about a week ago, because of weaker-than-expected demand, company president HB Chen maintained yesterday that AUO's expansion plans will be on schedule, with its first 7.5G plant coming online in the fourth quarter of this year. The 7.5G plant will process 10,000 substrates monthly during the initial stage of production, Chen revealed.

AUO's second 7.5G plant will kick off production in 2007, and the combined capacity of the two 7.5G plants will be 160,000 substrates per month, Chen added.

While panel makers are faced with inventory issues, Chen is optimistic that inventories in the market should be cleared in one to two months, and demand for TV panels will grow strongly in the second half of the year.

He indicated that AUO's sales in the third quarter will be stronger than those of the second quarter as a result of growing demand from the consumer-electronics and PC segments.

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Samsung and Sony ink contract for 8G LCD production
14 July 2006

Samsung Electronics and Sony today signed a contract for the construction of an eighth -generation (8G) TFT LCD production line through S-LCD, a joint venture of the two companies.

The companies plan to invest approximately US$1.9 billion (each company providing half) to establish the 8G LCD line, which will produce glass substrates approximately 2200×2500mm in size. S-LCD currently has a 7G line at Tangjeong, ChungCheongNam-Do, South Korea.

Actual production is targeted to start in fall 2007, with a monthly capacity of 50,000 glass substrates.

Together with the current 7G line, the start of the 8G line will enable both companies to expand production of large-size LCD panels for the 50-inch-range LCD TVs, of which demand is expected see a significant increase, as well as to acquire a stable supply to meet demand.

The investment amount does not include the cost of the building and land.

The two companies signed a letter of intent for the 8G production plan in April 2006

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Samsung, Sony forge ahead on Gen 8 line
14 July 2006




SEOUL, South Korea — A slumping display market did not stop Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. from finalizing a deal with Sony Corp. to jointly invest $1.9 billion to build a Gen 8 thin-film-transistor liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) fab for their joint venture LCD company S-LCD Corp., Samsung said in a report Friday (July 14).

Located in Tangjeong, South Korea, the fab will roll out mostly 46-inch and 52-inch panels when it opens in fall 2007, with a monthly capacity of 50,000 substrates. It can cut up to eight 46-inch and six 52-inch panels from a 2,200 mm x 2,500 mm glass substrate.

In April, both companies signed a letter of intent to invest in the Gen 8 facility, whose capital costs will be equally shared by both companies.

Given the massive panel inventory glut, industry experts challenged the decision to proceed with the project, questioning how quickly the large flat-screen TV market would grow justify costly capital investments by LCD panel makers.

After posting its largest ever quarterly loss, Samsung's rival LG.Philips LCD Co. Inc.said Tuesday it would put on hold plans for a Gen 8 fab in Paul, South Korea, instead building a multi-purpose Gen 5.5 fab there to produce LCD panels for wide format notebooks and high-end monitors.

S-LCD is now producing 60,000 glass substrates, sized at 1870 x 2200mm, at its Gen 7 fab in Tangjeong. It will expand capacity to 90,000 substrates monthly by Jan. 2007.

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Sharp eying 10G LCD production
19 July 2006

Sharp will invest 500 billion yen (about US4.26 billion) to build a tenth-generation (10G) TFT LCD plant, with construction to begin in the third quarter of 2007 and volume production to begin in mid-2008, according to the Japanese-language Nihon Keizai Shimbun. The plant will process 2,850×3,050mm glass substrates into eight 57-inch panels or six 65-inch panels.

Sharp declined to comment on the news.

Most panel makers in Taiwan said they will not follow suit, but revealed the possibility that a 10G LCD plant would be built in Taiwan after 2-3 years time, according to the Chinese-language Apple Daily.

Currently, the most advanced LCD plant in Taiwan is 6G, though AU Optronics (AUO) will start producing 42-inch panels from a 7.5G plant in October.

This April, Chi Mei Optoelectronics (CMO) stated it will commence volume production at its 8G plant in May 2008. However, Taiwan-based equipment makers said installation at the plant will be postponed to 2008 to avoid a clash with the recently delayed second-stage expansion of its 7.5G plant.

Sang-Wan Lee, president of Samsung Electronics' LCD business, said last October that Samsung will continue investing in 8G and 9G LCD production, and may even build 10G lines.

Market research firms remain conservative about the reported Sharp investment plan. DisplaySearch said the plan is not yet set, while the Industrial Economics and Knowledge Center (IEK) of the Taiwan government-sponsored Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) said it remains to be seen whether the huge investments required by 7.5G-and-more-advanced LCD plants are worthwhile.

Panel makers in Japan and South Korea have been competing to migrate to next-generation LCD production to be more capable in setting a standard for larger-size panels, strengthening their product mix flexibility and lowering the investment amounts for average LCD output, IEK indicated. However, the mainstream size for 50-inch-and-larger TVs is not yet clear while investments for 7.5G-and-more-advanced LCD plants are over billions of US dollars, so it is still uncertain whether the investments will generate enough profits, the research center noted.

In addition, PDP (plasma display panel) is currently more suitable for 50-inch-and-larger panels, compared with LCD, as yields are better and the investment needed is lower. The required investment for a PDP plant is one-third to one-fourth of that needed for an LCD plant, IEK indicated.

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Commentary: Global competition in 8G LCD production starts
3 August 2006

When Sharp recently announced that it would be starting eighth-generation (8G) LCD production this month, rather than in October as originally planned, and when Sony and Samsung's joint ventire, S-LCD, is said to also bring forward its 8G schedule, with production starting in June 2007 rather than August 2007, one could say that global competition in 8G TFT LCD had finally kicked off.

Sharp has been able to move forward its schedule for the 8G line because construction of the plant has been relatively smooth, and an early start in volume production should help meet rising demand for LCD TVs at the end of 2006. The move also reflects Sharp's optimistic view of the large-size LCD-TV market. The maker hopes to stay ahead in the 50-inch-and-above segment, while establishing its brand influence as early as possible.

The plant will use 8G glass substrates (2,160×2,460 mm), about double the size of the 6G substrates (1,500×1,800mm) utilized by the company's Kameyama Plant No. 1, a facility that produces LCD panels for 30-inch LCD TVs. The 8G glass substrates are suitable for LCD panels utilized in 40- and 50-inch LCD TVs, according to Sharp.

The monthly capacity of the plant will reach 15,000 substrates per month, initially, and 30,000 per month with the start of a second production line in March 2007, Sharp said.

Panel makers indicated that the 8G plant from Sharp will initially focus on 46- and 52-inch panels, with 47-inch panels also scheduled for production, according to market conditions. S-LCD will also aim to produce 46- and 52-inch panels for its new 8G plant, the panel makers said.

On the other hand, Chi Mei Optoelectronics (CMO) and LG.Philips LCD are behind in their 8G LCD production schedules.

CMO may postpone equipment installation at its 8G production line until 2008, to avoid a clash with the recently delayed second-stage expansion at its 7.5G plant, according to sources at domestic TFT-LCD equipment makers. The sources indicated that CMO has decided to process 8G TFT LCD (2,200×2,500mm) substrates, similar to S-LCD's decision on its 8G standard.

CMO commented that its next-generation production plan depends on market needs, and it is still at the evaluation stage.

Prior to this reported 8G delay, LG.Philips LCD recorded a huge loss in the second quarter and decided to establish a new 5.5G production line instead of an 8G line, As well, it has lowered the monthly output from its 7.5G line from 90,000 substrates to 75,000. LG.Philips LCD may delay the production of a new 5.5G plant by one quarter (the original timeframe was June 2007), with the investment plan for an 8G plant also postponed, according to the Chinese-language Commercial Times.

Nevertheless, Taiwan-based panel makers indicated that the cost efficiency of using a 5.5G plant to produce 50-inch-and-above panels is not necessarily lower than that of using an 8G plant prior to the maturation of materials and manufacturing processes for 8G LCD production.

The glass-substrate utilization rate when 5.5G substrates are used to produce 55- and 56-inch panels can reach above 90%, while the utilization rate for 52-inch panels is over 80%, the makers noted.

However, Taiwan-based panel makers such as CMO will still face issues such as support from branded makers for 50-inch-and-larger panels. In addition, with Sharp's 8G production now being brought foward, the company expects to capture 20-30% of the 50 inches-and-above LCD-TV market, sources said.

Sharp ranked third overall, with 11% of the global LCD-TV market in the first quarter of 2006 (following Samsung and Royal Philips Electronics), according to the Japanese-language Nikkei BR, citing figures from Japan-based Techno Systems Research (TSR).

Jan 2005 : Sharp : Aimed to volume produce 8G panels by Oct 2006
Jul 2005 : Samsung : Announced operation of 8G plant by 2007, of 9G plant by 2009
Jan 2006 : Samsung : Volume production of 7G plant, three months earlier than expected
Mar 2006 : CMO : Said to plan on 6G and 8G production, the latter to start volume production in 2008
Jul 2006 : LG.Philips LCD : Announced delay of 8G plant construction, to focus on 5.5G plant
Jul 2006 : AUO : Announced delay of 2nd-phase capacity expansion for 7.5G plant and QDI’s 6G plant till 2008
Aug 2006 : Sharp : Announced earlier volume production plan for 8G plant
Aug 2006 : AUO : Announced first 7.5G-plant-made 42-inch panel

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They are building it, but will LCD sales come?
10 October 2006

Ask Jack Lin about his plan to help his company, Chi Mei Optoelectronics, catch up with its bigger South Korean and Japanese rivals in the flat-screen TV market and he offers a vision of a vast sugar cane field in southern Taiwan in answer.

There, construction is under way on a 250-hectare multibillion-dollar liquid crystal display (LCD) manufacturing hub, where Chi Mei plans to bring together a cluster of domestic and foreign component makers to produce slim television sets.

With South Korean market leaders Samsung Electronics and LG.Philips LCD way ahead of the game with their huge LCD hubs, smaller rivals in Taiwan and China are playing catch-up with plans to develop their own "crystal valleys", at a cost of billions of US dollars.

"We hope we can compete with them after material integration," Mr Lin, vice-president of Chi Mei, said in a recent interview at company headquarters in the Tainan Science Park on the southern part of the island.

Mr Lin says the site will eventually become an LCD manufacturing megaplex with a production target value of $T200 billion (more than $A8 billion) a year.

Across the Taiwan Strait in Shanghai, SVA Group, China's rising LCD star, announced plans late last year for its own $US6 billion ($A8 billion) LCD megaplex, with the aim of cranking out $US10 billion worth of panels and related components annually by 2010.

SVA's main rival in China, BOE Technology, scored another market victory when industry giant Corning said earlier this year it would set up its first Chinese LCD glass factory in BOE's home town of Beijing.

Creating such hubs can save about 10 per cent in costs, through closer co-operation in product design and shorter delivery times, says Mr Lin.

But even as the up-and-comers prepare to spend and attract billions of dollars for their new hubs, some say it may be too little too late for them to catch up with their Korean and Japanese competitors.

Samsung, the world's second-biggest LCD maker, has built a massive complex in a town south of Seoul, spread over 200 hectares, with another site of equal size set aside for expansion. That complex includes a joint venture producing panels with Japan's Sony Corp.

The leading global player, LG.Philips LCD, has its own cluster of 170 hectares devoted to production, with another 290 hectares for its parts suppliers.

"South Korea leads in scale," says Park Hyun, an analyst at Prudential Securities in Seoul.

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Samsung and Sony's Win-Win LCD Venture
28 November 2006

One is a South Korean upstart that has really only achieved premium, global-brand stature this decade; the other is a fabled Japanese consumer electronics titan. Samsung Electronics and Sony are also fierce industry rivals with killer instincts to succeed - often at each other's expense. Still, they have pulled off one of the most interesting and fruitful collaborations in global high-tech by jointly producing liquid-crystal display [LCD] panels. And it's an alliance that is reshaping the industry.

The two companies broke ground in 2004 for the joint venture, called S-LCD, in Tangjeong, about 55 miles south of Seoul. On both sides the alliance was controversial, all the more so since Sony pulled out of a Japanese-state-backed LCD-panel development group to make it happen.

Early on, Sony also had concerns about quality. The company not only dispatched its own engineers to the joint venture to vet LCD displays, it also insisted that every panel it used be shipped through its LCD-TV factory in Inazawa, near Nagoya, Japan. There the panels went through another rigorous quality check before electronics such as digital tuners, power units, and other components were added. Only then were they packaged into TVs or shipped off as modules to assembly plants in Spain and Mexico.

Bravia New World

Now, however, panels are being shipped directly from S-LCD to the assembly plants. And even Sony execs concede the venture has been instrumental in the company's introduction of the hugely successful Bravia LCD-TV lineup, a rare bit of good news at the Japanese company.

At the same time, Samsung's own LCD-TV business has made big strides. The South Korean giant has emerged as a trend-setter in the LCD-panel industry, aided by Sony technology that has helped ensure high-quality, sharp TV pictures. Now the two are vying for leadership in thin, widescreen TVs alongside Matsu****a Electric Industrial, which owns the Panasonic brand.

"The Sony-Samsung alliance is certainly a win-win," declares Lee Sang Wan, president of Samsung's LCD unit. Sony's Executive Deputy-President Katsumi Ihara, who has led Sony's TV division and was recently appointed to oversee key consumer-electronics product lines, also credits the alliance with helping revive the company's LCD-TV business fortunes.

LCDs Overtake Plasma

"If there had been no S-LCD venture, Sony's LCD-TV business would not be what it is today," he said in an interview with a group of Tokyo-based technology journalists back in April.

The alliance has also had an industry-wide impact, especially in the TV market for sets in the 40-in. screen class. The large-screen segment had been dominated by plasma TVs until S-LCD started providing LCD screens at a cost comparable to that of plasma panels. In the third quarter of 2006, some 2.32 million LCD TVs were sold and for the first time overtook plasma-screen sets, which sold 1.96 million units. U.S.-based researcher DisplaySearch predicts the gap will widen in the fourth quarter to 3.68 million for LCD vs. 2.65 million for plasma [see BusinessWeek.com, 10/4/06, "Big-TV Battle: LCD vs. Plasma"].

The LCD-TV business is the fastest-growing segment for sets sold globally, too. In the July-September quarter, LCD-TV sales doubled from year-ago levels to a record 10.8 million sets, and Samsung led the way in terms of sales for the first time ever, according to DisplaySearch.

New Pecking Order

LCD TVs made up 24% of the world's set sales in unit terms, up from 22% in the previous quarter. Consumers have continued to trade in their bulky cathode-ray tube sets for sleeker, bigger screens. By value, LCD TVs accounted for 48% of the global market with revenues surging 84% year-on-year to a quarterly record of $11.9 billion.

The birth of S-LCD also changed the pecking order among LCD-TV makers. Until two years ago, Japan's Sharp was the clear leader with its Aquos models. Although Sony's Trinitron models ruled the industry for decades in the analog age, the company neglected to develop flat-panel technologies, which forced it to buy expensive panels from others - a formula that helped Sony rack up mounting TV-segment losses. But S-LCD improved the fortunes of Sony's TV business overall.

With a multimillion-dollar ad blitz promoting Bravia's high picture quality, the new models were a smash hit when introduced in the summer of 2005 in the U.S. By the end of last year, Sony's LCD TVs vaulted to the world's No.1 spot. It turned out to be temporary, however, and alliance or no alliance, Samsung and Sony are still vying for leadership in the widescreen TV arena.

Tidy Profits

Samsung countered with its new Bordeaux model that helped the Korean company take a 15.6% share of global LCD-TV revenues in the third quarter of this year, edging out Sony's 15.2% and Sharp's 11.5%. A year earlier, Samsung's share was all of 10.3% [see BusinessWeek.com, 6/13/06, "Sony's Color-rich Bravia"]. That sales expansion has also translated into tidy profits for the South Korean company.

Samsung earned $167 million on sales of $3.14 billion in its LCD-panel business in the July-September quarter. That's a margin of 5% - not so impressive but still respectable in an LCD industry hampered by cutthroat competition that has forced rapid price declines. The profit is in stark contrast to a $341 million loss reported in the quarter by its crosstown rival LG.Philips LCD, which began mass-producing 42-in. and 47-in. LCD panels in January (see BusinessWeek.com, 6/8/06, "LCDs Display Their Flaws").

Samsung execs attribute the company's favorable performance to its partnership with Sony. "Our alliance with Sony allowed us to benefit from a virtuous circle: Bravia's success boosted sales of LCD panels, and volume meant lower costs which fed greater sales of LCD TVs," says Cho Yeong Duk, vice-president at Samsung in charge of the company's LCD business strategy. The "rivalry with Sony also helped Samsung to bring out better LCD products to the market," he adds.

LG.Philips: Not So Hot

The S-LCD joint venture [and Samsung's own LCD plants] benefits from the fact that Sony and Samsung are the world's two biggest LCD-TV makers, with a huge appetite for panels. About 80% of more than 10 million TV panels produced at the joint venture [and at a Samsung plant] during its first 18 months of operation have been shipped to the Samsung and Sony TV operations.

Compare that to LG.Philips LCD, controlled jointly by Philips of Holland and Korea's LG Electronics. It ships only 40% of its output to its major shareholders. "Most of our clients are plasma specialists and their LCD TVs are not so strong," admits Vice-President Lee Bang Soo at LG.Philips, the largest LCD-panel maker until last year.

No doubt about it: the LG.Philips venture is struggling. Already the company has cut its capital spending program by more than $1 billion, thanks to weak demand. It has also put on hold a plan to build a so-called eighth generation plant aimed at cutting 50-in. or bigger panels. Instead, it is building a "5.5-generation" factory that will make a mix of computer monitors, notebook panels, and smaller TV panels, adjusting volume to demand.

Building a New Plant

By contrast, S-LCD is pressing ahead. The venture, which spent $2.6 billion for the seventh-generation plant designed to make 40-in. class panels, is now building a $3 billion eighth-generation plant. In a couple of years, it will throw down the gauntlet to the plasma camp in the 50-in. class market. "We expect at least 2 million LCD TVs will be sold in 2008 in the 50-in. class," says Samsung's Lee. "By then, consumers will be able to buy a 50-in. TV at the price of a 40 -in. TV now."

Analysts say a widening investment gap between S-LCD and the rest of the industry pack will likely give the Sony-Samsung venture a clear lead in LCD-TV screens. "It's a typical Samsung strategy of betting big, weathering industry consolidation, and then basking in windfall profits," says Rhee Namuh, Merrill Lynch head of research in Seoul.

Sony also stands to benefit, given the cost savings, if it can keep developing popular LCD-TV models such as the Bravia. That said, Sony is looking to procure small LCD panels outside the S-LCD joint venture. Still, this oddest of alliances between two cutthroat competitors so far seems to be working out for both sides.

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Sharp to build new flat TV plant in Mexico, boost output at home in bid to regain lead
12 January 2007

TOKYO: Trying to regain its lead in the liquid crystal display TV market, Sharp Corp. announced plans to boost output with a 8 billion yen (US$66.3 million; €51 million) factory in Mexico and a new production line at a domestic plant.

Sharp, once the undisputed global leader in LCD TVs, has fallen behind rivals as it struggled to meet surging global demand for flat-panel televisions. It now holds about 12 percent of the global LCD TV market, putting it behind Sony Corp., Samsung Electronics Co. and Philips Electronics NV.

Sharp President Katsuhiko Machida told reporters in Tokyo said the new 8 billion yen (US$66.3 million; €51 million) Mexican factory will produce finished televisions in North America for the first time, greatly bolstering the company's ability to feed the key U.S. market.

"By building a robust supply setup, we hope to be even more aggressive in our global business," Machida said.

The plant will be built on the grounds of the company's present LCD module plant in Baja California and is expected to go online in July, with a preliminary production of 200,000 finished TVs a month, Machida said. Sharp will triple LCD monthly module output at its plant in Poland to 300,000 units by the end of 2007, he added.

The Osaka-based company also said that it will triple production of large LCD panels at its state-of-the-art Kameyama No. 2 plant in western Japan to 90,000 sheets a month by the end of 2008, from the current 30,000.

The Kameyama plant, which lets Sharp lower production costs by making more panels from a single sheet of glass than its rivals, is seen as critical in Sharp's ambitions.

Keeping production costs low is crucial in the LCD TV market, where prices have plunged over the past year, hurting profits.

Machida said he hoped to reverse that trend by raising production of bigger, more expensive TVs, which have a bigger profit margin. Just this month, Sharp unveiled a mammoth, 108-inch LCD TV at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, topping a 103-inch plasma TV shown by Matsu****a Electric Industrial Co. last year.

Sharp aims to raise the percentage of TVs 40 inches and larger to 40 percent of global unit sales in fiscal 2007 from 12 percent in 2006, Machida said. Overall, the company aims to sell 9 million LCD TV units worldwide, up 50 percent from 2006, amid an expected jump in global demand.

With larger screens, Sharp also hopes to take on Matsu****a, the plasma TV market leader. Plasma, also used in slimmer TVs, is a different technology from LCDs and are generally cheaper and easier to manufacture in big sizes.

Sharp's strategies have been paying off. Machida said the company forecast sales of 3.3 trillion yen (US$27.5 billion) for the fiscal year through March 2008, up 10 percent from the previous year.

The company's shares, which have rebounded since slumping in mid-2006, rose 0.25 percent to 1,985 yen on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Friday. Machida spoke after markets closed.

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Samsung: 10G LCD production on the way
11 April 2007

After Sharp raised eyebrows by announcing plans for building a tenth-generation (10G) LCD panel production line, Samsung Electronics indicated that it is now assessing the glass substrate size for its 10G line, though no set construction schedule has been fixed, according to company executive vice president of LCD and R&D center Jun H. Souk at the recent Finetech Japan.

Souk indicated that Samsung is working closely with equipment makers and is now in talks with glass substrate makers about size issues as the size of the glass substrate will be very considerable compared with previous generation substrates.

Concerning progress at Samsung’s eighth-generation (8G) line, Souk said the company will commence volume production ahead of schedule by two months in August and end products should hit the market by 2008. The main LCD panel sizes will be 46- and 52-inches.

Contrasting to Samsung’s faster-than-expected progress on 8G panel production, Taiwan makers including AU Optronics (AUO) and Chi Mei Optoelectronics (CMO)’s 8G schedules are still uncertain.

Commenting on the LCD TV industry trend, Souk said the frequency of migrating to larger sizes is one year, compared with 2-3 years in the past, while implying that panel makers are seeing shrinking profit margins along with a faster product cycle. He added that Samsung witnessed more obvious cyclical fluctuation since 2007 and he believes that the industry will have oversupply in the first half of 2007 but a shortage in the latter half of this year.

Souk pointed out that the number of major panel makers has grown from three to five since 2000, with AU Optronics (AUO) and Chi Mei Optoelectronics (CMO) now joining Samsung, LG.Philips LCD (LPL) and Sharp as the major industry players. These five makers combined to account for 75% of the market in 2006.

However, Souk believes that the future panel market will be dominated by only two makers, though he declined to mention which two players.

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CMO bullish on 2Q, eying 8G LCD production
27 April 2007

Demand for the panel industry has rebounded in the second quarter, with prices for most TV- and PC-use panels on the rise amid low inventory levels at the system side, Chao-yang Ho, president of Chi Mei Optoelectronics (CMO), said on April 26 at a company investor conference. Ho also indicated the maker is on its way to migrate to eighth-generation (8G) LCD production.

Of the panel shipments from CMO for the full year of 2007, the ratio of the first and second half will remain 4:6, with the second half to see strong demand on seasonal effects, Ho said. CMO now sees its plants almost running at full capacity, compared to only 80-85% in the first quarter of 2007, Ho added.

Although AU Optronics (AUO) recently said it will skip 8G and invest directly on more advanced plants, CMO has a different strategy.

Optimistic on the 50-inch class LCD TV market, CMO will not give up on 8G LCD production, Ho stressed.

The maker is building an 8G plant at Kaohsiung Science Park (KSP), but the volume production schedule is still being evaluated, Ho said.

A piece of 8G glass substrate can be cut into six 52-inch TV panels, Ho added.

In addition, Ho said CMO will continue establishing LCD plants more advanced than 8G.

In related news, the test run of the first-phase production at CMO's 7.5G plant went well and should enter volume production in May, reaching a 50,000-glass substrate monthly capacity before year-end. The second-phase production of the plant will see equipment installation in fourth quarter 2007, with volume production to commence in the second quarter of 2008. Ho revealed.

For its 6G plant, although volume production at the plant was originally scheduled to occur in the fourth quarter of 2007, new capacity from the plant will not be ramped up until 2008, CMO said.

CMO reported it has swung to a loss during the first quarter of 2007, with net profits turning from a positive NT$436 million (US$13 million) in the fourth quarter of 2006 to a negative of NT$1.1 billion in the first quarter amid panel ASP (average selling price) reductions.

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Sharp to produce 57- and 65-inch panels at new 10G plant, says paper
7 June 2007

Sharp will volume produce 57- and 65-inch TV panels at a tenth-generation (10G) TFT LCD plant, which starts operation in fiscal year 2009 (the year ended March 2010), according to the Japanese-language FujiSankei Business i.

Each of the 10G glass substrates from the new plant will be able to be cut into eight 57-inch or six 65-inch panels, the website reported.

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Winning in the Market by Commoditizing 42-Inch LCD panels: Analysis on Sharp 10G Plant
22 May 2007

"We have no news right now and will make our decision by summer as we scheduled," said a spokesperson from Sharp Corp.'s PR department. Asked comment on newspapers reporting the company plans to build its new LCD panel plant to follow Kameyama Plant No.2 in Sakai, Osaka, Sharp neither admitted nor denied the report, reiterating its previous comment. The company immediately posted a similar comment on its website as well.

Making 42-inch LCD TVs "a commodity"

There have been other reports on where Sharp will locate its new plant thus far. As for the abovementioned site in Sakai, many see it is the company's favorite candidate at present based on its relatively low price. Other positive factors include the strong foundation ground that stems from its location adjacent to iron mills and well-prepared infrastructures for marine and land transport. Considering Sharp plans to release an official announcement in "around summer," the new plant is estimated to start operation in around spring 2009 at earliest. Techno Systems Research Co., Ltd.'s Shusuke Hayashi, however, points out "Sharp might accelerate the schedule" depending on circumstances of its other plants and the market. The new plant is expected to manufacture LCD panels using 10th generation (10G) substrates that measure nearly 3 x 3 m. "The new plant is primarily aimed at the commoditization of 42-inch LCD panels, along with full-scale production of 60-digit-inch panels that can be manufactured at a high efficiency using 10G substrates," Hayashi analyzes.

At Kameyama Plant No.2 with an 8G line (using glass substrates measuring 2,160 x 2,460 mm), which is optimal for volume production of 52-, 46- and 42-inch LCD panels, Sharp has repeatedly doubled the amount of material glass substrates since its operation started in August 2006 to 30,000 sheets per month in January 2007 and 60,000 sheets per month in July 2007 (plan). On a 42-inch panel basis, an 8G substrate is made into 8 units, while a 10G substrate is believed to be able to make 15 units, which leads to a nearly twice-higher production efficiency per area, if manufactured at the same takt time. If Sharp energizes its marketing of its 42-inch products, in which competition is intensified with plasma TVs, "It will be a threat for PDP manufacturers," Hayashi indicated.

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Sharp finalizes 10G LCD glass substrate size
5 July 2007

Sharp has finalized the glass substrate standard to be used at its planned tenth-generation (10G) LCD plant in Japan, with a larger than originally planned size being scheduled, according to sources at equipment suppliers.

Glass substrates at the 10G plant will be 2,880mm × 3,080mm, whereas the originally planned size was 2,850mm × 3,050mm, the sources revealed. The 10G plant will focus on production of 57- and 65-inch panels, but the glass substrate size could be also cut into 15 42-inch panels, the sources added.

Whether rivals from South Korea and Taiwan will move forward to 10G lines depends largely on Sharp's 65-inch LCD TV sales, industry players commented. With Samsung Electronics having already noted that it has started assessing substrate sizes for its potential 10G line, some industry watchers believe that when standards for large-size (32- to 70-inch) LCD TVs are settled along with 10G production standards, Samsung is likely to follow suit.

However, some industry players also noted that Samsung maintains some flexibility in its production options. If sales of 65-inch LCD TV panels are not good enough, Samsung may choose to produce large-size panels from other sizes of glass substrate, instead of at a 10G line, they commented.

LG.Philips LCD (LPL), in the meantime, is expected to follow Sharp's standard on 10G panel production, given that the company now has less power over next-generation panel standardization after Royal Philips reduced its influence at the company.

While 10G plants are still in the early stages, panel makers are also making progress on their eight-generation (8G) production. S-LCD, a joint-venture (JV) between Samsung and Sony, will begin volume production at its 8G line in July on schedule whereas LPL's 8G production is also slated to begin in 2008.

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Japan's Sharp to build huge new LCD panel plant
31 July 2007

TOKYO -- Sharp Corp. said Tuesday that it would invest about $3.2 billion in a huge new plant making liquid crystal display (LCD) panels for large screen televisions - a key battleground for electronics makers.

The pioneer of LCD screens aims to increase its competitive edge over rivals with the high-tech new plant, which it hopes will drive down costs.

Sharp also unveiled plans to construct the world's largest solar cell plant with an undisclosed investment, betting on an increase in the use of residential systems harnessing the energy of the sun to produce electricity.

Both are due to start operating by March 2010 in the western city of Sakai.

The LCD panel plant will be the first in the world to use 10th-generation glass substrates, which at 2.85 by 3.05 meters are the world's biggest and 60 percent larger than those used at its existing Kameyama plant, it said.

This would make it "possible to fabricate LCD panels for large-screen TVs with extremely high levels of efficiency," the electronics maker said.

It plans to spend 380 billion yen on the plant, which will be its third LCD factory in Japan. Construction is slated to begin in November.

Some 72,000 substrates - which can each yield six 60-inch panels, or more for smaller ones - will be fed into the plant each month.

The new plant would allow Sharp to produce a fuller lineup of LCD television panels of all sizes, boosting its financial competitiveness, said Masahiko Ishino, an electronics analyst at Mitsubishi UFJ Securities.

"While gradually expanding the LCD division it is trying to build a new business model out of its solar cell panels," he added. "An LCD factory's initial costs are high so if Sharp can share them with the solar cell factory, it is very efficient to build the two things on one site," said Ishino.

Sharp said that it hoped to attract glass substrate and color filter makers to set up plants adjacent to the new factory to reduce distribution costs.

US Corning Inc. and Japan's Asahi Glass are among firms expected to work in the park, said Sharp spokesman Yukihiko Ishino.

"By concentrating related factories, we are aiming to promote streamlining," he said.

Sharp has cashed in on a boom in demand for flat TVs as consumers swap their old tube sets for ultra thin new ones.

Sharp makes all of its LCD panels in Japan and then ships them off to assembly plants around the world producing its Aquos-brand televisions.

Despite brisk sales, Japanese electronics makers and their foreign rivals such as Samsung Electronics of South Korea are waging a fierce price war in flat TVs, weighing on their profit margins and requiring them to cut costs.

Sharp shares rose 30 yen or 1.5 percent at 2,060 on media reports of the new plants, details of which were announced after the close of trade.

[Additional details from Digitimes]

Solar cell plant

The solar cell plant will focus on mass production of thin-film solar cells. Plans call for a production volume of around 1,000 MW (one million kW) per year for the thin-film solar cells to be manufactured at the facility. This level is expected to maximize economies of scale, and make the factory the largest solar cell plant in the world. Operations are slated to begin at same time as the LCD panel plant.

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Quarterly production of LCD panels reaching the 100 million mark
31 July 2007

The production of 10+inch LCD panels used for monitors, laptops and TVs is expected to surpass the 100 million market in the third quarter for the first time.

According to the industry on July 29, 10+ inch LCD production was recorded at more than 19 million in Samsung Electronics, LG Philips LCD and AUO, the top 3 makers. Therefore, the figure in total was expected at more than 95 million units. This is a 22 % increase from the first quarter and a 54% increase from the same period of last year. In addition, the figure is more than the highest record of 80 million set in the fourth quarter of last year.

The growth is largely thanks to the increased prices of LCD for laptops and monitors despite the seasonal slowdown factors of the second quarter of the year, which drove LCD makers to increase the production of panels for IT rather than TVs. Panels for IT are mainly 10 or 20 inch, so that production is 5-~100% higher compared to 30 or 40 inch TV panels.

In fact, the laptop panel production of May in Samsung Electronics and LG Philips LCD rose 27% and 33% respectively from the previous month. In contrast, TV panel production increased only 5% during the same period.

The industry expects that the trend would continue in the third quarter, which is the pick season and the shipments of panels (10-inch and over) in the quarter would amount to 100 million units for the first time as Samsung Electronics and LPL plan to expand their production capacity by 30%, at most, with more investments.

In the meantime, LPL ranked first with 19.9 million units, followed by AUO with 19.6 million units and Samsung Electronics with 19.5 million units in the second quarter in terms of the shipments of panels (10-inch and over).

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S-LCD ships first LCD panels from 8G line
28 August 2007




S-LCD, a joint venture between Samsung Electronics and Sony, today announced the shipment of LCD panels produced from its eighth-generation (8G) line, according to the company. S-LCD's 8G line is capable of processing glass substrates, measuring 2,200×2,500mm.

The new line will reach its full monthly output of 50,000 panels by the end of the year.

LCD panels shipped from this 8G line marks a major turning point in the market for LCD TVs in the 50-inch class. With a 7G line which is already in operation, S-LCD has sufficient capacity to meet demand for 40-inch panels. The 8G line is slated to supply 46-inch and 52-inch panels, and that plan was evident by the contents of the first shipment of 52-inch LCD panels for full-HD TVs.

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Sharp officially opens LCD TV plant in Poland
29 August 2007




Sharp held an opening ceremony for Sharp Manufacturing Poland Sp.z o.o. (SMPL), a new LCD module and LCD TV production base that serves the European market on August 28.

SMPL is located near the city of Torun in Kujawsko-Pomorskie Voidvodship in the north-central part of the Republic of Poland. It is the first plant in the Sharp Group to manufacture LCD modules in Europe. LCD module production started in January 2007, and integrated production – covering the manufacture of LCD modules and the assembly of LCD TVs – began in July 2007.

Europe has been experiencing vibrant demand for LCD TVs these past years. It is estimated that in fiscal 2011, demand will grow to 36 million units, accounting for 30% of world LCD TV demand. And now that the timeframe to phase out terrestrial analog broadcasts has been decided on in Europe, there will definitely be robust demand for large full-HD LCD TVs on the continent in the near future, according to Sharp.

In order to meet this active demand, Sharp will gradually increase production capacity at SMPL, with plans for 10 million LCD modules a year in 2011. In addition to the integrated manufacture of LCD TVs, SMPL will also supply LCD modules for the large LCD TVs made at Sharp's plant in Spain and at Loewe's plant in Germany.

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'Sony Will Lead Large LCD TVs by Its 7G and 8G Lines'; Sony's SVP
30 August 2007




Sony Corp. has added the Japanese market's largest 70-inch model to its winter 2007 LCD TV lineup including 40-, 46- and 52-inch models. Concerning 30-inch and smaller models, the company has added six color variations to its "J3000" series announced in March 2007.

Production of 46- and 52-inch models increased at S-LCD's 8G line

The operation of S-LCD Corp.'s 8G LCD panel plant, which announced shipments yesterday, significantly affected Sony's focus on 40-inch and larger full HD (high definition) models. S-LCD is Sony's joint venture with Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. of South Korea.

Eight 46-inch panels or six 52-inch panels can be made from an 8G glass substrate, which measures 2,200 x 2,500 mm. Accordingly, production efficiency rises compared with the previous 7G LCD panel plant, in which six 46-inch panels or three 52-inch panels are made from a 7G glass substrate, which measures 1,870 x 2,200 mm.

"We will drive the large LCD TV market with the advantage of having both 7G and 8G lines," said Takashi Fukuda, SVP, corporate executive and President of the TV Business Group at Sony.

The ratio of 40-inch and larger models surpassed 40% of Sony's overall LCD TV shipments in FY2006, and it is expected to reach 44% in FY2007

"To meet the demand to replace 32-inch CRT TVs, which sold most in around 2000, we will double the production of 46-inch and larger TVs," said Kiyoshi Shikano, corporate senior vice president, Sony Marketing (Japan) Inc.

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Asahi Glass to establish new plant to make 10G LCD substrates
5 October 2007

Japan-based Asahi Glass has decided to increase production capacity of glass substrates for TFT LCD panels by building a new plant, according to the company.

Spending about 30 billion yen (US$ 257.6 million) in total, Asahi Glass will establish a production furnace (output capacity: five million square meters per year) and a polishing line, for up to tenth-generation (10G) substrates, at its Takasago Plant (Takasago, Hyogo Prefecture). The production furnace is expected to start mass production in Autumn 2008 and the polishing line is forecasted to start in 2009, announced Asahi.

Demand for LCD panels is now in full swing for TVs as well as for personal computers, and is expected to rise at an annual rate of 20% on a unit basis. In addition, many LCD panel manufacturers currently produce panels by using 6G generation or larger substrates. Production of panels using 10G glass substrates, the world's largest, is also scheduled. Given this trend, the supply-demand situation of glass substrates is expected to tighten, centering on large sizes, and glass manufacturers will be forced to build plants to maintain a stable supply of large glass substrates.

Until now, Asahi Glass has boosted production capacity of glass substrates in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan in response to a rise in demand, and has promoted technology development for large glass substrates. As the company's largest domestic production base of TFT glass, the Takasago Plant currently operates two production furnaces for TFT glass substrates and a polishing line that can handle up to 8G glass substrates. The plant's existing human resources and infrastructure can therefore be used effectively for this project, and a building space for the project can be secured within the plant site without needing to acquire or lease additional land. Thus, the plant offers a favorable location and key benefits for this project, Asahi said.

Asahi Glass will continue to expand facilities as necessary, while giving full consideration to trends in demand for glass substrates and an increase in production capacity at its existing manufacturing facilities in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, stated the company.

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Worldwide LCD investments expected to peak again in 2009, Displaybank predicts
29 October 2007




The TFT LCD market will see massive investments in 2009, predicts Displaybank. Total investments for 2009 will reach US$21 billion, compared to a previous peak of US$20.5 billion in 2005.

Demand cannot be met with the production lines planned for the moment, and estimated additional lines to come on stream will be two lines for 2007, three lines for 2008 and six lines for 2009, said the research firm. Therefore, investments that have shrunk for three years from 2006 may grow sharply in 2009, spurring growth in parts and materials industries as well as the equipment market.

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Samsung Gen 11: 70″ LCD HDTVs
13 November 2007

Samsung is betting that lots of people will want larger HDTVs as the prices come down. In an interview with the Korea Times, the chief of Samsung’s LCD Technology Center announced that the company has plans to build a Gen 11 LCD fabrication plant. The line will use 3,200 by 3,600 millimeter sheets of glass substrates. That’s 10.5 feet by 11.8 feet; we have rooms in our house that have smaller floors than that. According to the article, the Gen 11 line will be optimized to produce 70″ LCD HDTVs.

70″?!? Look, I’m as big a booster of flat panel as the next industry pundit, but hey, even I don’t believe that this market is without limits. It may be that there is a sizable group of consumers with the disposable income (and large enough walls) to be able to afford a 70″ LCD TV. But even if the prices come tumbling down, I can’t expect them to sell for much less than $2,000. And $2,000 is a lot of money for a television, as far as the average American consumer is concerned. I think that you need to get well under $1,000 before most people are seriously going to think about buying a TV, especially in today’s economy. Keep in mind that just a few years ago, $500 was a lot of money to spend on a typical picture tube television. Now we’re asking people to spend multiples of that amount for a big screen TV.

Samsung is probably responding to two problems. First, the smaller sets that are affordable and appealing to the mass market are being made by the plants in Taiwan and mainland China at prices that Samsung and the other giants can’t match. So they have to compete in the larger sizes that the smaller plants can’t build. But that’s the territory of plasma, and so LCD prices have to come down significantly for sets 50″ and larger in order to compete with plasma. New plants handling larger sheets of glass may yield lower costs through greater efficiency, but it’s a gamble.

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Samsung unveils new investment plan for LCD
22 November 2007

SEOUL (AFP) — South Korea's Samsung Electronics on Thursday announced a 2.2 billion dollar investment plan to expand its LCD production, citing rising demand for high-end television sets.

Samsung, the world largest maker of liquid crystal display (LCD) panels, said it would invest 2.06 trillion won (2.2 billion dollars) for expansion of its LCD production.

The investment, which was approved by its board, will be completed next year, the company said in a statement.

LCD makers in South Korea, Japan and Taiwan have ramped up investment in new plants to produce bigger flat panels at cheaper prices.

Samsung and its local rival LG Philips have continued to spend billions of dollars on increasing their production capacity in the expectation that demand would pick up as new generation televisions and monitors become more affordable.

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Sharp Breaks Ground on "Manufacturing Complex for the 21st Century"
1 December 2007

On December 1, 2007, Sharp Corporation held the groundbreaking ceremony for its plant in Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture, Japan that it calls a "Manufacturing Complex for the 21st Century."

Sharp is aiming to make this a major industrial zone: in addition to the horizontal deployment of its proprietary thin-film technology to cutting-edge LCD panel and solar cell plants, Sharp is inviting relevant infrastructure and material and equipment manufacturers to construct their plants on the site.

This will push the vertically integrated business model created at the Kameyama Plant further upstream in the supply chain and achieve a vertically integrated model that transcends company borders. It will also allow Sharp engineers to work closely with their counterparts in leading material and equipment manufacturers, thus giving rise to new technical innovations through shared knowledge and expertise.

The LCD panel plant is scheduled to start operation by March 2010 and it will be the first facility to use tenth-generation glass substrates (2,850 x 3,050 mm), the world's largest.

The solar cell plant is also set to start production by March 2010. Plans call for an annual production volume of 1,000 MW (one million kW) a year for thin-film solar cells.

Overview of the Manufacturing Complex

Location: Sakaihama District of Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture (Chikko-yawata-machi, Sakai-ku, Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture)
Site area: 1.27 million m2

LCD Panel Plant

Amount of investment: Approx. 380 billion yen (including land acquisition costs)
Start of operations: By March 2010
Main products: LCD panels for large-screen LCD TVs in the 40-, 50- and 60-inch class
Glass substrate size: 2,850 mm x 3,050 mm (10th generation)
Input capacity: 72,000 substrates per month (initial capacity at start of operations: 36,000 substrates per month)

Solar Cell Plant

Details on investment amount and other factors are currently under review.

Start of operations: By March 2010
Production item: Thin-film solar cells

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Restructuring of Japanese FPD Industry: Aims of Sony, Sharp
25 February 2008

The restructuring of Japanese FPD industry seems to be still continuing. Especially the movements of Sharp Corp, a leading LCD panel manufacturer, are drawing attention.

Sharp agreed in principle to form business and capital alliances with Pioneer Corp, one of the PDP panel manufacturers, Sept 20, 2007. And Sharp announced Dec 21 that the company and Toshiba Corp will supply each other with LCD panels and semiconductors.

Furthermore, Sharp established a joint venture with Tokyo Electron Ltd to develop manufacturing equipments for thin solar cells, which can be produced with some of the technologies used for LCD panels, Feb 6, 2008 (See related article). And Sony Corp entered the final stage of planning to source LCD TV panes from Sharp Feb 28, according to The Nikkei, a Japanese daily.

Sony is planning to buy large-sized panels on a long-term basis, and the deal is expected to be closed within days, according to the newspaper. Neither Sony nor Sharp has not made an official announcement yet.

The excessive supply of large-sized LCD TV panels is expected to create a buyer's market in 2009. It is because the new factories that LCD panel manufacturers in Japan, Korea and Taiwan, decided to build in the past half year will start producing LCD TV panels in 2009, sharply increasing the supply capacity of the panels.

Therefore, some people doubt that Sony will have a long-term contact with Sharp for the supply of LCD panels. However, Syusuke Hayashi, marketing director of Techno Systems Research Co Ltd pointed out as follows.

"Sony is planning on shaking off, at a dash, the manufacturers that have the third and smaller shares in the LCD TV market," he said. "So, it is possible that Sony will start to buy panels from Sharp and 'get ammunition.' Sony is considering revising its worldwide sales plan for the fiscal 2008 from 18 million units to 20 million units. And it is possible the company will source most of the increment from Sharp."

On the other hand, Sharp adopted a new strategy of not relying only on the brand name of Kameyama Factory and positioning the LCD TV panel sales as one of its main businesses. So, if Sharp can have Sony, which is struggling for primacy in the LCD TV market, as a major customer, it will bring Sharp immeasurable benefits, even more than those from the business alliance with Toshiba.
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post #2 of 11 Old 05-24-2006, 05:19 PM
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Those of us who run with the "white" theme can't read what you write, particularly when it is in yellow.
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post #3 of 11 Old 06-06-2006, 08:27 PM
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Good stuff.

Thanks Iso.
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post #4 of 11 Old 08-03-2006, 11:26 AM
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As far as I see it Sharp in 10G fab it will be possible
to produce 130" panels
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post #5 of 11 Old 04-27-2007, 01:30 PM
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Holy crap, that's a lot of info.
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post #6 of 11 Old 04-27-2007, 03:20 PM
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Are you sure you got all the info !! LOL

Ive seen good TV's and Ive seen bad TV's the only thing im sure of is that Ive seen them !!
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post #7 of 11 Old 06-07-2007, 03:54 PM
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absolutly awsome !!!!!!!!!

Ive seen good TV's and Ive seen bad TV's the only thing im sure of is that Ive seen them !!
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post #8 of 11 Old 07-11-2007, 07:12 PM
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Super interesting, thx!

Note that LG-Philips fortunes just reversed as, after consecutive quarters in the red, they just turned a "higher than analysts forecast" profit. They appear to be bullish again, bring on those IPS panels! S-LCD needs a strong competitor for us to get top quality
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post #9 of 11 Old 02-26-2008, 10:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Thread Update (links go to original articles; see the end of my previous post for archived stories):

25 February 2008: Restructuring of Japanese FPD Industry: Aims of Sony, Sharp
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post #10 of 11 Old 02-26-2008, 11:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Isochroma View Post

70″?!? Look, I'm as big a booster of flat panel as the next industry pundit, but hey, even I don't believe that this market is without limits. It may be that there is a sizable group of consumers with the disposable income (and large enough walls) to be able to afford a 70″ LCD TV. But even if the prices come tumbling down, I can't expect them to sell for much less than $2,000. And $2,000 is a lot of money for a television, as far as the average American consumer is concerned. I think that you need to get well under $1,000 before most people are seriously going to think about buying a TV, especially in today's economy. Keep in mind that just a few years ago, $500 was a lot of money to spend on a typical picture tube television. Now we're asking people to spend multiples of that amount for a big screen TV.

People change, flat panels are so large and sophisticated that people seem willing to invest more in the technology, willing to finance it, etc. And why not, the amount of enjoyment one gets out of these large panels pales in comparison to the experience of the previous generation tube CRT sets. Now 70" might be stretching it for the average buyer, but I believe that at the 50-60" class, people will buy at well over 1,000 en masse. Also, $1,000 is much easier to make these days then it used to be.
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post #11 of 11 Old 06-02-2009, 04:05 PM
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I didn't know where to put this, so I re-surrected his old thread.

I just came across this article on EngadgetHD.com .

http://www.engadgethd.com/2009/06/02...d-8g-facility/

Just thought I share it. It seems news worthy in terms of helping bring down LCD prices, even more.

"Don't f**K with my levels!"
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