A Glimpse into the Flat Panel Market

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A Glimpse into the Flat Panel Market

By Ed Hall (SEMI®) and Charles Annis (DisplaySearch)

Liquid Crystal Displays (LCD) displays are everywhere. You see them on everything from cell phones, to portable gaming devices, to MP3s, to Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs), to notebooks, to television, and even on refrigerators. Large TV screens are currently drawing the most attention with its large and bright displays. This results in driving up the demand for flat panels—particularly LCD displays. According to DisplaySearch, the Flat Panel Display (FPD) market is projected to rise from $88 billion this year to over $108 billion in the next two years.




The Thin Film Transistor (TFT) LCDs is the largest technology segment with over 80 percent of the FPD market starting in 2005.




Traditionally, the LCD panel is based on a substrate that has progressed from a small sheet of glass to a very large piece of glass. The chart below shows the breakdown of equipment spending by substrate generation and the relative TFT capacity in the next 4 years.



Unyielded TFT Capacity by Fab Generation



As reported in the Flat Panel Fabs database, there are over 24 fabs producing 5G/6G panels and more than eight fabs in the 7G/8G arena. Sharp was the first panel manufacturer to announce their involvement in the 8G arena. The Sharp plant, located in Kameyama (Mie Prefecture, Japan), has confirmed its plans for the larger 8G substrate with a projected production in Q4 2006.

In March 2006, Chi Mei Optoelectronics (CMO) claimed to be the first Taiwan-based panel maker to announce plans to construct an eighth-generation (8G) LCD plant. CMO states that it will commence volume production at its 8G plant in May 2008.

Sharp, back in July 2005, announced their plans to invest about US$4.6B for an 8G LCD manufacturing plant. S-LCD Corporation, a joint venture between Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and Sony Corp., has recently announced their plans for an 8G substrate with the panel size of 2,200 x 2,500 mm. The company is planning to invest approximately $2 Billion and the actual production date is targeted to start in fall 2007.

The move to larger panel production are important to LCD panel makers looking to increase production capacity, improve productivity, and enable the manufacture of 40 inch or larger LCD panels.

Besides the new larger generation of substrates, there are many companies that are still involved in smaller substrates. Companies like AU Optronics (AUO), Chi Mei (CMO), China Picture Tube (CPT), HannStar, Hitachi, LG.Philips, Samsung, and many more, are involved in the production of LCD panel on substrates as small as 32Ѐ, and a variety of larger sizes. The smaller size panels are used mainly in portable electronics devices.


The flat panel market is growing at a fast pace with revenues reaching a new level of $100 billion by next year. To help increase product capacity and improve productivity, companies are starting to move into larger panel productions to develop even larger TV displays and computer monitors.

For now, the LCD market looks bright and is expected to grow to a $102 billion industry in 2010 with all FPDs reaching $120 billion.

Portions of the data in this article were derived from a recently updated database called the Flat Panel Fabs, produced by DisplaySearch and sold only through SEMI.

The Flat Panel Fabs is a reference database ideal for keeping track of industry development and company growth in the LCD market. The list has grown to over 500 entries in the areas of a-Si and P-Si TFTs, and other flat panel technologies such as Plasma, AMOLED, and PMOLED. The database details fabs worldwide including Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China, Europe, and North America.

The Q2 edition (released in April 2006) of the Flat Panel Fabs database provides information on large generation fabs as well as smaller size FPD fabs. The categories include company name, fab name and type, date of production, panel size, display technology, substrate generation and size, capacity, fab cost, and more.

TO ORDER YOUR COPY of Flat Panel Fabs, please call SEMI Global Sales and Services at 1.877.746.7788 (U.S. toll-free) or 1.408.943.6901. For complete product description or to place an order, please visit our website by clicking this link.

Ed Hall is the senior business development manager for the Industry Research and Statistics group within SEMI can be reached at ehall@semi.org.