TCL’s plan to shift the liquid crystal display (LCD) factory it is buying from Samsung Display from TV panels to IT panels is likely to be delayed, TheElec has learned.
This is due to the shortage of LCD TV panels, and customers are requesting TCL extend LCD TV panel production at Suzhou, people familiar with the matter said.
TCL’s acquisition of the factory itself is also facing delays as the South Korean government is yet to approve on the deal.
TCL is narrowing the gap in large-sized panels with world leader BOE. In TV panels, TCL has a market share of early-10%, which isn’t far away from BOE’s late-10%. However, in IT panels for notebooks and tablets, TCL only has a share of 2 to 3%, compared to BOE’s 30%. TCL was attempting to expand its share in IT panel through Suzhou.
The situation is Suzhou is a conundrum for TCL as IT panels are much more profitable than TV panels right now. IT panel prices are expected to continue their price rise in the first half of 2021 while TV panels are expected to stay flat in the same time period.
TCL initially planned to began production at its new LCD factory, T9, next year after the Suzhou factory was successfully converted to IT panels.
LCD TV panel market is suffering from a shortage due to Samsung and LG reducing their production last year. Chinese panel companies also pushed back the start of production of their 10.5th-generation LCD panel production.
Samsung Display and LG Display area both extending their LCD panel production following requests from Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics, respectively.
The South Korean government is also yet to approve TCL’s purchase of the Suzhou plant. LCD panel is considered a core national technology.
Last year in August, TCL announced that it was buying Samsung Display’s Suzhou LCD factory for US$1.08 billion.