As rival flat-panel makers in South Korea and Japan rush to set up advanced manufacturing facilities in Mainland China, Taiwanese makers of liquid-crystal displays — used in everything from computer screens to cellphones and televisions — stand to fall behind.
For years, Asia’s LCD makers feared that building and operating advanced flat-panel manufacturing facilities on the Mainland would make it easier for Chinese companies to acquire their technology and compete with them.
But China, where demand for LCDs is picking up, presents a rare growth opportunity for the industry at a time when demand in the US and Europe remains tepid.
Foreign players, such as Sharp, LG Display and Samsung, are being lured to China by incentives from municipal governments, including tax breaks, land, utilities and loans. They can also avoid import duties on panels sold in China.
Market research firm DisplaySearch says, though China is still quite small in terms of LCD manufacturing, with an estimated 4% share of the global market in 2009, it is catching up to North America and Europe, and it will become the largest market for both LCD TVs and monitors by 2011.
Online Wall Street Journal reports that, according to DisplaySearch, LCD TVs sold in China during the first half of this year rose 86% to 9.5 million units from 5.1 million units a year earlier, the strongest pace of growth in the world.