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Notebook displays drive HB LED growth

Posted: 29 Jan 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:high-brightness LED? HB LED? LCD? OLED?

IMS Research has published a market research report characterizing the supply side of white and RGB LEDs used for high-brightness (HB) LEDs. HB LEDs, including GaN and InGaN, have been experiencing record breaking growth from early 2009 because of the rapid shift to LEDs in notebook displays.

As this growth rate keeps increasing, other markets are also migrating to LEDs, including signaling, very large outdoor displays, digital billboards, personal lighting, automotive and industrial markets. LEDs are also enabling solid-state lighting to penetrate the general lighting market. Plus, the LCD TV market is also rapidly shifting to LEDs due to their improved performance, superior form factor and lower power. As a result, TVs are expected to become the biggest market for HB LEDs in 2010, thus creating a supply shortage.

According to the report, by the end of 2009, there were 1,413 reactors at 75 manufacturers with a capacity of 188 billion die/year. Barry Young, senior consultant, IMS Research, and managing director of the OLED Association, said, "Demand for HB LEDs is forecast to grow by 61 percent in 2010 and supply is unlikely to keep up, creating an opportunity for new manufacturers and new tool makers."

The report projects that in 2010 there will be a shortage of 12-14 billion in-spec (binned) die, with the shortage projected to continue well into 2013. This potential shortfall in supply is putting pressure on both the tool suppliers and the LED manufacturers to improve yields (or reduce the binning specs), increase capacity and speed up tool production. It expects that in 2010 there will be 348 units of MOCVD reactors, with an additional 195 to 240 reactors necessary to meet demand, resulting in a total potential market of 588 reactors.

Meanwhile, Nichia has a dominant position with a 42 percent share and over $2 billion in in-spec (binned) die revenues, due to their technical and IP leadership in the white LED market. Cree's share has surged to 11 percent due to its strong focus on the rapidly growing solid state lighting market.

In terms of production, Nichia produced 34 billion in-spec (binned) die, followed by Epistar and Samsung LED Company, which vaulted to third place as a result of strong demand from Samsung's TV business, Cree and Show Denko.

By region, Taiwan leads in HB LED production with a 37 percent share followed by Japan and Korea.

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