BOE Expects to Start MP at Its Gen 10.5 Fab in December 2017
November 27, 2017
BOE Technology has announced plans to advance the official operation of its first Gen 10.5G LCD panel plant to December 2017 from its original schedule in 2018. Other vendors building Gen 10.5 and 11G lines include China Star Optoelectronics Technology (CSOT), Foxconn Electronics, LG Electronics, HKC and China Electronics (CEC). A total of nine 10.5/11G fabs are either under construction or on the drawing board with total investments expected to surpass NT$2 trillion (US$66.656 billion). Emerging players in the panel industry, including BOE, CSOT and Foxconn, are spearheading the migration to 10.5G lines, while the established firms such as Samsung Display, AU Optronics (AUO) and Innolux have avoided the race and the capital expenditures. When these Gen10.5/11G lines enter production there will be a significant oversupply of large-sized panels and could trigger a new wave of retirement of older-generation production capacity. Samsung Display has shifted its focus to small/medium AMOLED panels as it closed its L7-1 fab (7G) in 2016 and also two 5G fabs in 2017. Samsung has a partnership with TCL and is likely to satisfy its demand for large panels from China. Taiwan-based panel makers AUO and Innolux are likely to be in a disadvantaged position as they are short of capital to migrate to 10.5/11G lines and have not moved aggressively into the AMOLED sector, said the sources. AUO has actively stepped into a number of niche market segments, including PID (public information display) devices, automotive CID panels, and gaming panels, but these applications are relatively small compared to the 250m unit TV market. While still counting on Foxconn to digest its panel output, Innolux is stepping up its production of automotive panels, having already become a supplier of 17-inch CID panels for Tesla. It is also in the supply chain of Taiwan auto brand Luxgen. Meanwhile, small- to medium-sized panel makers Chunghwa Picture Tubes (CPT) and HannStar Display are also moving to the automotive and industrial panel sectors, in addition to their current focus of smartphone panels.