According to a press release from DisplaySearch yesterday, March 2009 shipments of LCD TV panels rose 30% over February’s number to total 9.9 million units. Even better is the news that this represents a 14% increase over the March 2008 numbers, which was before we ran headfirst into the brick wall of global recession and massive oversupply of LCD TVs.
These strong indications are backed by other news from the LCD industry. Most notably, Sharp has announced that its Kameyama Plant No. 2 is operating at full capacity, and the company plans to put its new Gen 10 production plant in Sakai into operation in October this year. The Gen 10 glass substrates are so large that they cannot be shipped, so the glass plants will have to be co-located with the new LCD factory. The larger substrates mean that more large panels can be made out of a single sheet of glass, resulting in higher production efficiency and thus lower costs for the end products.
In the long run, this is good news for consumers. It means that prices will be held down through lower cost production, rather than the industry-damaging oversupply that led to stagnant inventories and huge losses for the manufacturers and retailers. As a result, the current low prices for LCD TVs may begin to rise soon, but they will not rise as high as they would without this new, more efficient production.