Chinese LED TV
Within years China may have as many LCD TV panel factories as Japan, South Korea and Taiwan combined

The established LCD manufacturers are casting nervous glances towards China, which is predicted to undergo a boom in the manufacturing of display panels over the next few years.

At the moment there are seven factories in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan capable of making LCD panels from eighth-generation glass, but it's expected China may see the opening of the same number of plants in the near future.

Some will be operated as joint ventures with big brands from those countries, but it's expected others will be all-Chinese enterprises, which could threaten the existing manufacturers, and jeopardise their plans to expand into the fast-growing Chinese market.

At the moment worldwide demand for LCD panels is around 200m units a year, but it's expected that within two years the Chinese market alone will require more than 50m panels.

One way the established names aim to tackle this threat is through joint ventures: both Samsung and LG have been linked with Chinese companies in the development of LCD panel factories, while Japanese press reports suggest Sharp may be considering the building of a 10th-gen LCD plant in China.

More after the break

The local government of Nanjing has said Sharp is planning a factory capable of handling 80,000 sheets of 10th-gen glass a month, giving it a monthly capacity of almost 1.5m 40in screens, but Sharp officials are denying that any such plans exist.

Another line of attack, according to some industry-watchers, is that the major manufacturers will look at ways of moving on from their dependence on LCD technology.

At the recent flat panel display trade show in Japan, Samsung created a stir with its 30in OEL (organic electroluminescent) panel, while Panasonic is known to be developing a 40in OEL display with Japanese chemical company Sumitomo.

Faced with the option of cutting their own costs of manufacture to take on the new competition from China, it could just be that the current market-leaders will seek to gain a technological advantage in order to remain ahead of the game.Follow whathifi.com on Twitter Join whathifi.com on Facebook