The LCD backlight market experienced a fall in the price of LED chips and with the combined lower than expected demand for LCD televisions, globally, the LCD backlight market reported lower market value sales in 2012. In 2012, the global LCD backlight market is forecast to decline by 3.1% to be worth an estimated US$15.5 billion compared to US$16 million. The increased demand for LCD televisions is reaching its peak as the penetration of the LCD televisions reaches close to 94% of the total television market. The strongest growth is seen with 3D televisions with the number of units shipped in 2014 forecast to total 92 million compared to only 18 million in 2011. In contrast the total number of global LCD televisions being shipped in 2012 is estimated to total 216 million units which represents an annual growth rate of just 2.85%.
The light guide plate technology or LGP technology represents a key aspect for backlight unit enterprises. Only three independent large-scale backlight companies are operating in the market, namely, Coretronic, Radiant and Kenmos. Backlight unit technology greatly influences the performance of the LCD panels and so strong partnerships and integration exist between suppliers. Heesung Electronics and NewOptics are suppliers solely to LG Display. Hansol, DID, DSLCD and TAESAN supply only Samsung.
In 2011, the open-cell and hinge-up formats were introduced which not only represented a great opportunity but also challenges for the backlight unit industry manufacturers. Hinge-up caters to the ultra-thin Ultrabook and the backlight manufacturers needed to place the front cover of Ultabook and LCM into one module. Radiant was the only manufacturer capable of such production and as a result secured significant revenue growth of more than 40% and 20% during 2011 and 2012, respectively. The strong growth reported by Radiant was at a time when the backlight unit industry as a whole was in decline.
In China the LCD panel industry reported strong growth in 2012 combined with a large rise in shipments of CSOT and BOE G8.5 generation lines. However, the supporting backlight units were mainly sourced from South Korea and Taiwan enterprises. The main supplier of CSOT was Coretronic Corporation with the major suppliers of BOE being Japan-based Chatani, South Korean-based On-Nuri and Nanohitec.
For more information on the LCD backlight market, see the latest research: Global LCD Backlight Market Report
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