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China chases Korea in semiconductor and display

Posted December. 11, 2013 10:05,   


The Korea International Trade Association forecast that Korea’s exports of semiconductors will increase year on year by 6.8 percent to 60.75 billion U.S. dollars (about 63.7 trillion won) and its exports of displays by 5.2 percent to 36 billion dollars (about 37.8 trillion won) in 2014 because the demand for mobile devices, such as tablet PCs, curved display smartphones and OLED TVs, will increase.

In the memory semiconductor market, the dominance of Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix is expected to continue for a while. Samsung manufactured 49.4 percent (about 1.4 billion units) of the global output of mobile DRAM in the second quarter. SK Hynix took up 23.6 percent (675 million units) of the total output. The two Korean companies together accounted for 73 percent of the global mobile DRAM market. Given their solid networks and technological strengths, this trend will continue for some time in the future.

In the display sector, the forecast varies depending on products. While the exports of OLED panels will grow, the LCD panel sector will slow down a little bit. Because the Chinese government is currently aimed at promoting Chinese TV manufacturers to meet its domestic demands over 80 percent by 2015, concerns are raised about oversupply.

According to DisplaySearch, a U.S. market research institute, from the first to third quarters of this year, the sales of over 9.1-inch LCD panels by Chinese manufactures increased by 19.8 percent to 5.46 billion dollars, compared to the same period of last year. On the other hand, the sales by Korean manufacturers decreased by 21.4 percent to 26.12 billion dollars. Although Korea’s sales volume is still about five times higher than that of China, the gap is narrowing down.

Korean manufacturers rush to start production in China to better adapt to the Chinese market. Samsung Display has finished the construction of its eighth-generation LCD factory in Suzhou in October and started operation. LG Display’s factory in Guangzhou will be completed in the first half of next year.

Industry experts say, “Although Korean companies have a competitive edge in the premium market, Chinese companies are growing fast. So, (Korean companies) should strengthen R&D capabilities and micro process engineering.”