Samsung Electronics and LG.Philips LCD gearing up to push the small and medium size LCD market, where Japanese firms such as Sharp Corp. and Sanyo-Epson had been absolute leaders. Samsung Electronics and LG.Philips LCD, which have led the large segment since 2001, have launched a series of attacks on the small/medium size market, such as new investments, based on their advanced technology, aiming to be up to its reputation as the world's No. 1 vendors dominating the small/medium size segment as well as the large segment.
Japan's Sharp lost its lead due to the two electronics giants' aggressive investments allowing them to take the initiative in the time of fifth-generation start-up, but plans to launch the world's first 8G LCD fabrication line in the fourth quarter this year. Prior to this, IPS Alpha Technology Ltd., a joint venture between Hitachi, Toshiba and Matsushita, is scheduled to move into mass production at its 6G line focusing on 32-inch and 37-inch TV LCDs in the third quarter. The two Japan-based firms' monthly capacity based on mother glass is reportedly 45,000 units and 60,000 units, respectively.
On the other hand, Taiwanese companies have shown signs of aggressive moves to overcome their constant second position behind Korean vendors in the large market, and Japanese firms in the small and medium size segment. Early this year, AU Optronics (AUO), Chi Mei Optoelectronics (CMO), and Chunghwa Picture Tubes (CPT) have already finalized their investment plans in 7.5G lines. These actions reflect their intention to join in 7G large LCD panel competition, overtaking the previous pace-makers, Samsung Electronics and LG.Philips LCD. Notably, CMO and AUO have reportedly established long-term plans to build two and three 7.5G production lines, respectively.