The manufacturing capacity for displays and the display market itself are both very large in China. The main task of SID's Beijing chapter is to support research and development for the Chinese display industry so that it can continue to grow and prosper as it has for the last 30 years.
by Baoping Wang
IN THE BEGINNING of the 1980s, the first Chinese color-picture-tube factory was built in Xian Yang, a city in the western part of China. This factory is generally regarded as the starting point of the modern display industry in the country. Over the next 20 years, many cathode-ray-tube (CRT) factories were built in Shanghai, Beijing, and Nanjing, as well as in other large Chinese cities. By the end of the 1990s, China had become the largest manufacturer of CRTs in the world.
During the 1990s, two Gen 5 TFT-LCD product lines were built, one in Beijing and one in Shanghai. This was the beginning of what was to become the now huge flat-panel-display (FPD) industry in China. Apart from TFT-LCDs, other types of FPDs, such as PDPs and OLEDs, are also now being produced. And many Chinese universities and research institutes are immersed in the research and development of new display technologies.
Over the last 10 years, the Chinese economy has developed at a rapid pace. Although a serious economic crisis has affected the global market, the revenue of the Chinese electronic information industry was 5130 billion RMB (yuan) in 2009. It increased 0.1% compared with that in 2008. Table 1 shows the output of some types of electronics in China in the first half of 2010.1-4
As shown in Table 1, the production of color TVs increased 16.4% in mainland China during the first half of 2010. In further breakdowns, LCD TVs especially increased by 40.7% during this period. Of the total display production in China, LCD shares are about 71%; PDP, 3%; and CRTs, 26%. Clearly, the LCD is the dominant display product in China.
Sales in China are about as strong as manufacturing. The consumer market is quite large. In the first six months of 2010, about 20 million color TV sets were sold in mainland China. FPDs represented 85% of this market.
The Development of the FPD Industry in China
Many different FPDs are currently produced in China. In addition to LC, plasma, and OLED displays, e-paper, LCoS, and others are manufactured as well. Most FPD companies are located in Beijing, Tianjing, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Guangdong, Anhui, Sichuan, Hubei, and Shanxi. Some Chinese brands that are known throughout the world include BOE, TCL, Panda, and Changhong. At this time, there are four Gen 4.5 , four Gen 5 , two Gen 6 , and three Gen 8 TFT-LCD product lines in mainland China. Table 2 provides some details about those them.
Until now, most LCD panels produced in mainland China have been smaller than 26 in. The large LCD panels for TV sets have been imported from Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. However, it is estimated that more than 80 million large LCD panels (46 in. and larger) will be produced in mainland China in 2012. At that point, the number of large LCD panels produced in China should be enough for the requirements of Chinese TV-set factories.
The Chinese government and electronic companies have invested a great deal in developing the key technologies for TFT-LCDs. Chinese companies and research institutes have already applied for more than 5000 patents relating to TFT-LCD technologies. Every year, about 500 patent applications for LCD technology are submitted. Chinese companies are said to already hold strong patent positions in a few key technologies, such as AFFS, ODF, GOA, and local-dimming technologies.
Apart from the TFT-LCD industries, some PDP factories have been built in mainland China. Table 3 shows the main ones.
It is estimated that more than 4.5 million PDP panels (42 in. and larger) can be produced in mainland China in 2012. Therefore, mainland China need not import PDPs from other countries.
Table 4 gives information about the OLED industry in mainland China. In 2012, the passive-matrix OLEDs (PMOLEDs) produced in mainland China will be used primarily in small displays and lighting. The small AMOLED (< 3 in.) will be mass produced starting in 2012.
To help maintain the display industry, a few companies producing glass substrates, color filters, and special equipment are also set up in China. Therefore, a complete display industry link has been formed in this country.
This TFT-LCD factory, owned by BOE Display Technology Company, is one of many in mainland China.
Strategy of the SID Beijing Chapter
In 2011, there are about 250 members in the SID Beijing Chapter. Obviously, the scale of this chapter is not in proportion to the scale of the Chinese display industry as a whole. An important task for the SID Beijing Chapter in the next 5 years is to attract new members, especially young people.
SID's mission in China also includes the continuous support of technology development and innovation, including the training of engineers for the Chinese display industry. Members of the Beijing Chapter know that investments in research and development are as important as those in manufacturing.
To support display-industry research in China, the SID Beijing chapter has organized a series of conferences over the last 3 years, including Asia Display '07 in Shanghai and ASID '09 in Guangzhou. In November 2011, the SID Beijing chapter will run Asia Display/ China Display in Kunshan. These international conferences will be used as a platform for Chinese engineers to exchange and increase their knowledge.
Shown here is the interior of a BOE fab in China where TFT-LCDs are made. Chinese companies and research institutes have already applied for more than 5000 patents relating to TFT-LCD technology.
The action points of the SID Beijing chapter are summarized as follows:
• The members of the SID Beijing chapter should be observably scaled up in the next 5 years. It is hoped that there will be more than 500 members of the SID Beijing chapter by 2015.
• The SID Beijing chapter will organize at least one conference every year.
• The SID Beijing chapter will organize seminars to train local engineers.
• The SID Beijing chapter will push its members to attend more conferences and symposiums organized by SID.
Since the 1990s, the Chinese display industry has developed quite quickly. It is estimated that this momentum will be maintained at the same level over the next 10–20 years. The central task of SID's Beijing chapter is to support research and development in order to help this dynamic industry continue to grow and thrive.
1"Main Statistical Data in 2009," National Bureau of Statistics of China.
2"National Economy Showed Good Momentum of Development in 2010," National Bureau of Statistics of China.
3"Report of investigation of electronics market in China in 2010," Shangbu Consulant Center.
4"Analysis of electronic market in China from 2010 to 2013," Shangbu Consulant Center. •