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Korea's Samsung Electronics sold the most large TFT-LCD panels in Q4 last year, against a backdrop of disappointing industry sales worldwide.

Large area (10.4 inch and above)TFT-LCD panel shipments were 1.035 million less than expected - falling one per cent on the previous quarter to 8.4 million, according to a survey by Texan research outfit DisplaySearch.

The revenue drop was blamed on disappointing notebook sales.

For the year, worldwide revenue grew 33 per cent to 30.6 million units.

Samsung managed to net 20.5 per cent of the market in the quarter - its shipments grew 47 per cent to reach 6.26 million panels. Its success was put down to its 17-inch panels.

LG Philips LCD grabbed 14 per cent of the market, followed by Hitachi, Sharp and NEC.

But only Hyundai Electronics, Samsung and the Taiwanese manufacturers saw plumper market shares.

Regionally, Taiwan was the biggest winner - its share of OEM shipments grew 13 per cent during the quarter. The area was led by Acer Display Technology, which is now the ninth biggest vendor (compared the number 15 in 1999).

Japan's market share fell to 50 per cent from 62 per cent, while Korea gained one per cent to take 37 per cent of the market.

In related news, Taiwanese IT companies Acer and UMC are to merge their thin computer screen businesses to create a TFT-LCD manufacturing monster. They hope to take on South Korean and Japanese rivals. This week also saw NEC and Thomson multimedia announce plans to join their plasma display businesses. ®

Related Link

DisplaySearch report

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