Business / Technology

New LCD facility offers strong display of domestic progress

By Fan Feifei in Beijing and Zhou Lihua in Wuhan (China Daily) Updated: 2016-02-17 07:52

A new production line for advanced LCD screens from Wuhan China Star Optoelectronics Technology Co Ltd will help China's display panel industry make headway against its foreign competitors, according to industry experts.

The sixth-generation production line will produce low-temperature polysilicon LCD screens using thin film transistors. Located in Wuhan, Hubei province, the high-tech firm will market the displays for smartphones and other mobile devices.

The company expects the line to achieve mass production in 2017, with 88 million display panels or modules manufactured annually. By next year, output will reach more than 10 billion and more than 5,000 people will be employed.

The new facility received major financial support from Shenzhen China Star Optoelectronics Technology Co Ltd, a supplier of LCD displays and subsidiary of TCL Corp, which invested 16 billion yuan ($2.46 billion) in 2014 to establish the production line in the Wuhan East Lake High-tech Development Zone.

Li Dongsheng, chairman of TCL Corp, said at the production line's opening ceremony that "the completion of the line shows Wuhan China Star Optoelectronics has the ability to produce state-of-the-art high-end display panels. This project is an important one for TCL Corp".

Wuhan government officials said it is working to attract a range of companies involved in the manufacturing process of display screens, from suppliers of raw materials to makers of panels, modules and terminal products, to establish offices and facilities in Wuhan.

The officials believe the production line will help the domestic industry catch up with companies in Japan and South Korea, all have dominated the LTPS LCD display market in recent years.

Other domestic producers have made heavy investments to build the sixth-generation LTPS LCD screen production lines.

BOE Technology Group Co Ltd launched its Gen-6 LTPS/AMO-LED production line in Chengdu, Sichuan province, last year, while Tianma Microelectronics Co Ltd recently announced it will build a Gen-6 LTPS production line in Xiamen, Fujian province, and Kunshan, Jiangsu province, both of which are expected to begin production this year.

China is the world's largest consumer of display panels.

According to Sigmaintell Consulting Co Ltd, demand in China for LTPS LCD panels will increase from 140 million in 2015 to 230 million this year, with its penetration rate rising from 27 percent last year to 39 percent this year.

"The Gen-6 LTPS TFT-LCD production line from Wuhan China Star Optoelectronics will help domestic display manufacturers increase their clout in the field of medium- and high-end mobile phone screens," said Li Yaqin, vice-president of Sigmaintell Consulting.

Fan Boyu, a senior manager for market research firm WitsView, said China's production capacity of LTPS LCD panels will continue to expand this year as major display producers target the medium- and high-end mobile phone markets, although that could push inventories of screens beyond demand levels, which could compress profits for manufacturers.

Liu Kun contributed to this story.

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