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Consumer demand drives record LCD spending

Panel makers investing heavily

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LCD panel makers will spend a record $9.42 billion on equipment this year - 43 per cent more than they forked out last year, market watcher DisplaySearch has forecast.

That significant increase in equipment spending - 41 per cent higher than the LCD business’ last record year, says DisplaySearch - underpins growing consumer demand for flat planel TVs and monitors and notebook PCs.

Tellies in particular are driving that demand. The researcher expects more than 50 million LCD TVs will ship come 2008.

As for the panel manufacturers themselves, Tawainese players are expected to account for half of that $9.42 billion equipment spend, DisplaySearch notes in its latest Quarterly TFT LCD Supply/Demaned and Capital Spending Report. Mainland Chinese companies will account for 11 per cent of 2004 spending, much of it invested in fifth-generation fabs. Indeed, 50 per cent of 2004’s overal spend will go on fifth-gen product lines.

Behind Taiwan, South Korean firms will account for 28 per cent of 2004’s spending. Samsung alone will account for 17 per cent of the total, as it expands its fifth- and rolls out its seventh-generation fabs.

Japan, meanwhile, will see its share of the total capex drop from 26 per cent last year to ten per cent in 2004, primarily through outsourcing to these other areas. ®

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