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September 12, 2021
Many characteristics of the LCD panel price cycle - the longest cycle, the largest increase, full-size general rise, size differentiation is obvious, so that the cycle is "different", the LCD panel industry will also have a lasting and far-reaching impact.
Full fire "rise" to play a trick
Starting in June 2020, the LCD panel price increase cycle lasted 13 months, which is longer than expected by industry experts and market research institutions. The ongoing tightening of supply and demand due to a variety of factors, including high demand generated by COVID-19, changes in supplier competition and upstream material shortages, is the biggest driving force behind the longest price increase cycle in panel history.
"From the demand side, the housing economy catalyzed by the COVID-19 epidemic in 2020, coupled with the active fiscal policy stimulus in overseas developed economies, has driven the explosive growth of terminal demand. In the context of tight supply, manufacturers' aggressive panel stocking strategy and supply chain resource run exacerbated the tight supply and accelerated the price rise." Zhang Hong, research director of Sigmaintell TV Business, told China Electronics News.
Supply capacity is hampered by limited capacity on the supply side and shortages of upstream raw materials. On the one hand, part of the Production capacity of the Korean factory chose to exit after experiencing long-term losses, while other panel factories invested conservatively in new production lines with limited capacity growth. On the other hand, the shortage of upstream materials has an impact on the effective supply of panels. At the same time, the concentration of panel capacity has increased, and the price strategy of the head manufacturers is aggressive.
The big rise is one of the most obvious features of this cycle. According to Sigmaintell, prices of all major sizes rose by more than 40% at the peak of the current cycle, compared with the lows of the previous cycle. "This wave of price rises has never been seen before." "The price of TV panels has been rising for nearly a year, and the increase has nearly doubled," an analyst from Jibang Consulting told China Electronics News.
Entering the year of 2021, on the basis of the continuous tight supply and demand of the panel market in 2020, the price rise of upstream raw materials such as drive IC, LED lamp bead, PCB backboard and glass substrate also contributed to the extension of the panel price increase cycle. Take glass substrates, for example. "Raw materials have risen quite a lot this year," said Xie Qinyi, Omdia display research director. "The average price of glass substrates rose about 5 to 10 per cent in the second quarter, and the third quarter is expected to rise 5 to 10 per cent." In December last year, a temporary power outage occurred at the plant of Nippon Electric Glass (NEG), the world's third largest SUPPLIER of LCD glass substrate. Group Intelligence predicts that this event may affect 2.5% of LCD panel capacity in the first quarter of 2021, equivalent to 95K of G8.5 generation capacity loss. Corning, another glass substrate supplier, raised its glass substrate shipment prices in the second and third quarters of 2021.
In this cycle, each size panel "rose" a pattern, specific performance for the size differentiation is obvious, showing the characteristics of dynamic change. "In the early stage, the small size increased greatly, leading to the growth of the large size. In the late stage, the large size made up for the increase, leading to the small size to continue to rise. Among them, the cumulative increase of small and medium size has doubled, and the increase of large size has also been between 30% and 70%." Ovirivo general manager Chen Hui summed it up in an interview with China Electronics News.
By product type, TV panel shows a large increase in small and medium size, while the increase in large size is moderate. According to Sigmaintell, small and medium-sized TV panels are up the most, with triple-digit gains, with 32-inch TVS up 177%, 43-inch FHD and 55-inch UHD up 113%. Large-size TV panels rose more modestly, with 65-inch UHD prices up 76% and 75-inch prices up 41%. In addition, the cycle has also spread to the notebook sector in a rare way. According to CIMB, COVID-19 has driven up demand in the distance education market, and the price of 11.6-inch panels, which are mainly based on demand for laptops, has soared, at one point maintaining the price level of 14-inch / 15.6-inch panels.
The effects of cyclical "recoil" are profound
Affected by this round of LCD panel price increase cycle, panel upstream and downstream industry chain related enterprises significantly improved profitability. Recently, panel companies have disclosed the performance of the first half of 2021, among them, BOE revenue in the first half of 2021 broke through 100 billion yuan, the net profit of the parent increased by more than 10 times to 12.8 billion yuan; TCL Huaxing's net profit reached 6.82 billion yuan in the first half of 2021, with 7.17 billion yuan in large-size net profit, up 1,384.6 percent year-on-year. Polaroid business contributed 515 million yuan in net profit to Shanshan's first-half revenue, accounting for 67.8 percent of the total net profit.
"[This LCD panel price hike cycle] helped the industry overcome the negative impact of external environmental uncertainties such as COVID-19 and re-enter the upward cycle." Hu chunming told China Electronics News. The increase in corporate profitability is only one of the most obvious effects of the price rise cycle of this round of LCD panels, and the "recoil" of the 13-month high business cycle is far more than this.
"Contend upstream" it is the biggest revelation that this round rises in price cycle brings to panel enterprise, this also can be from the big action in panel bibcock insight one or two. TCL Technology, the parent company of TCL Huaxing, spent more than 10 billion yuan to acquire Zhonghuan Group and expand its business in the field of semiconductor display materials. Boe also spent 8.17 billion yuan to expand the production line of display port devices display modules. "Semiconductor components have become a key to smooth production and shipment. Some small materials that were not so important in the past have been highlighted in this surge of demand, and panel manufacturers have begun to pay more attention to them." "You could even see downstream customers or panel mills breaking past industry rules by bypassing IC designers and going directly to foundries further upstream," said Analysts at CIB. Hu also pointed out that this cycle has helped push industry investment towards more high-end and upstream materials and equipment.
In this price increase cycle, through the establishment of factories and mergers and acquisitions and other ways, panel leading capacity has been further improved. Boe merged the 8.5 and 8.6 generation factories of CLP Panda, and TCL Technology acquired the production lines of Samsung's Suzhou factory. "If it continues to acquire capacity from other mainland Chinese players, boe's capacity share will exceed 30 per cent and the top five panel makers will have 80 per cent, which means the market will become highly concentrated." Xie qinyi said. "With the increasing concentration of the panel market, the big industrial pattern changes and new capacity tend to be rational." Li Dongsheng, founder and chairman of TCL, said at a recent performance exchange meeting. Li Xiaoyan, senior analyst at Sigmaintell TV business, said: "The longest price increase cycle will further enhance brand concentration, which is expected to lead to a more orderly and healthy development of the TV market."
But Hu acknowledges that the concentration of capacity has slowed the pace of deep changes in the competitive landscape and the industrialization of alternative technologies to some extent. Li Xiaoyan said that from the demand side, the rapid price rise also makes the terminal demand cooling rapidly, inhibit the growth of terminal demand, and may again contribute to the transformation of supply and demand.
Whether the price cycle will weaken
As the longest price increase cycle of LCD panel is coming to an end, the industry has two different views on the topic of "whether the change of panel price cycle is weakening".
Enterprises, industry experts and analysis institutions all agree that the cyclical display industry will exist for a long time, but they have different views on the magnitude of the next cycle change and whether the cyclical display industry change is weakening. "It shows that cyclical problems in the industry will continue for a long time and we are entering the next cycle. "It remains to be seen whether external environmental uncertainties will have an impact on cyclicality in the short term." Hu Chunming said.
Some panel enterprises, experts and association experts expressed the view that the cyclical industry will weaken. Ouyang Zhongcan, academician of The Chinese Academy of Sciences, attended the 2021 World Display Industry Conference and judged that the LCD panel market demand is still growing, and the formation of oligopoly competition pattern may slow down the LCD panel price fluctuations brought by the LCD cycle. In his speech at 2021DIC FORUM, Chen Yanshun, chairman of BOE Technology Group Co.,Ltd., also expressed the same view: "After the industry property changes from cyclical to growth characteristics, price fluctuations will still exist, but the range of fluctuations will narrow, the time cycle of fluctuations will be longer, and the resilience of the recovery of the head enterprises will be significantly enhanced." Li Dongsheng also said at the recent performance exchange meeting that the cyclical fluctuations of the panel industry will be significantly reduced in the future. Hu Chunming also believes that: "the cyclical strength is likely to further weaken under the efforts of the top enterprises, but it also depends on the intensity of demand change, the speed of technological progress and the concentration of market competition."
Some industry analysis institutions from the relationship between supply and demand, that there is still a potential crisis of oversupply in the future panel industry. Chen Hui pointed out: "The panel demand is overdrawn in advance, The Korean factory LCD capacity withdrawal plan delay, at the same time, the existing panel factories in the interest of continuous expansion of capacity, but once the demand downward, the panel industry will enter the dilemma of oversupply, unable to get rid of the cyclical trend of development." Zhang Hong also said: "Although the panel manufacturers can actively adjust the product mix, but the overall demand will be a sharp drop in the background will be stretched."
As the panel into a new round of downward cycle, analysis agencies forecast panel prices still have the possibility of a slump. Overevo predicts another cyclical trough in prices is likely. According to the analysis of JIbang, TV panel prices have started to decline, and the decline is expected to continue until the end of the first quarter of 2022 to the beginning of the second quarter. According to Sigmaintell, global LCD TV panel prices may see a panic fall in August and September as market panic spreads and short-term oversupply worsens.
Liang Xinqing, executive vice president and secretary general of liquid Crystal Branch of China Optical optoelectronics Industry Association, is relatively optimistic. In his view, panel prices will be relatively mild, due to the large size TV panel suppliers have strong bargaining power, is expected to drop 10% in three months, mobile phone supply and demand will be relatively stable, IT panel supply will be tight in a short time, the price change will not be too big.