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China-based panel makers to gain from low-priced handsets

Posted: 26 Sep 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Digitimes? handset touch screen market? Apple? iPad? panel maker?

According to the latest data from Digitimes, handset applications will account for the highest proportion of shipments in the global touch panel market at 76.2 per cent this year. In 2H12, the main change in the handset touch screen market is the release of Apple's iPhone 5 that uses in-cell touch screen technology. The supply chain for Apple's panels will be shifted from Taiwan-based panel makers to Japan and Korea, which will cause shipments for panels used in handsets to decrease for Taiwan panel makers from 41.3 per cent in Q1 to 26.9 per cent in Q4.

Additionally, China-based panel makers will benefit from low-priced handsets in China. Due to such handsets having strict cost requirements, they will be beneficial for China-based touch screen makers. This will allow the makers' shipments of touch panels used in handsets to increase from 32.7 per cent in 1Q12 to 39.4 per cent in Q4.

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Figure: Global touch panel shipments by application, 2010-2012 (k units)
source: DigiTimes

Tablet touch screen applications have seen the biggest growth in recent years and are bringing in more profit per panel due to their larger size compared with panels used in handsets. In 2012, the proportion of panel shipments used in tablets will be 8.4 per cent. The biggest change in the tablet touch screen market will be Apple's 7.85in iPad, which uses double-layer ITO thin-film touch panels provided by Japan-based panel makers. Thus, Taiwan-based panel makers' global shipments for tablets will fall to 69 per cent in Q4 from 90.9 per cent in Q1.

In 2H12, as Windows 8 is about to reach the market, Taiwan-based panel makers will proactively enter supply chains for PCs that use touch panels. Because Taiwan-based panel makers began cultivating one glass solution (OGS) panel technology relatively early, they will still see revenues from PC-use touch screens due to the panel area being larger in PCs compared with handsets, despite the penetration rate for projected-capacitive touch screen notebooks and all-in-one PCs only reaching one per cent in 4Q12.

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