LED


2021-04-28

Global LED Video Wall Driver IC Revenue for 2021 Projected to Reach US$360 Million, a 13% Increase YoY, Says TrendForce

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The LED video wall driver IC market has been suffering from insufficient production capacities on the supply side since 2020, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations. In order to ensure a sufficient level of wafer capacities at foundries, LED video wall driver IC suppliers therefore began raising prices for certain driver IC products by about 5-10% at the end of last year, and this price hike is expected to persist through 2021 as well.

On the demand side, various commercial activities and sporting events have been successively resuming as the COVID-19 pandemic is gradually brought under control. The resumption of these activities is expected to drive global LED video wall driver IC revenue for 2021 to US$360 million, a 13% growth YoY.

Chipone takes leadership position among suppliers in the highly oligopolistic LED video wall driver IC market

TrendForce indicates that that the LED video wall driver IC market is highly oligopolistic, as the top five suppliers collectively possessed more than 90% market share by revenue last year. With regards to the performances of the individual suppliers, Chipone took leadership position with a 36% share in the LED video wall driver IC market and dwarfed the other suppliers in terms of both revenue and shipment. On the other hand, Taiwan-based Macroblock, which primarily focuses on the high-end segment and holds relatively advanced technologies in its portfolio, took second place with a 20% market share.

Sunmoon took third place last year with a 13% market share. The company went public in December in an effort to raise more capital and strengthen its market position. Sunmoon has since become listed on China’s SSE STAR Market as a public company. Rounding out the top five list are Fine Made and Shixin Technology, which took fourth and fifth place, respectively. These two companies, along with others such as Developer Microelectronics, Sumacro, MY-Semi, and Xm-Plus, together constituted a 31% market share.

Tight 8-inch wafer capacities have led to noticeable price hikes for entry-level LED video wall driver ICs

Although the foundry industry expanded its 8-inch wafer capacities in 2021, driver IC demand for applications such as 5G smartphones, 5G base stations, automotive power devices, PMICs, and large-sized panel driver ICs remains strong. Incidentally, wafer capacities for driver ICs used in these aforementioned applications overlap with wafer capacities for LED video wall driver ICs to an extensive degree. At the same time, as small pixel pitch and ultra-fine pitch displays (LED video walls) become the market mainstream, LED video wall driver IC demand will likely undergo a corresponding growth as well.

However, in 2021, production capacities for LED video wall driver ICs will continue to be constrained by the demand for other products due to their low profitability. As a result, TrendForce expects prices of high-end LED video wall driver ICs to once again undergo a 5-10% increase in 2Q21, while entry-level ones will undergo a price hike of about 20-30% for the same period.

For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Optoelectronics Research, please click here, or email Ms. Grace Li from the Sales Department at graceli@trendforce.com

2021-03-25

Global Automotive LED Revenue Projected to Reach Nearly US$3 Billion in 2021 Owing to High Demand for Headlights and Display Panels, Says TrendForce

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The COVID-19 pandemic heavily impacted the global auto market and in turn damaged the automotive LED industry in 1H20, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations. In 2H20, however, the gradual recovery of vehicle sales as well as the development of NEVs provided some upward momentum for the automotive LED industry, whose revenue for the year reached US$2.572 billion, a 3.7% decline YoY. Automotive LED revenue for 2021 is projected to reach $2.926 billion, a 13.7% growth YoY, thanks to the increasing demand for automotive headlights and display panels. As automakers continue to incorporate LED lighting solutions into new car models, the penetration rate of automotive LED will continue to undergo a corresponding increase as well.

TrendForce analyst Joanne Wu indicates that, in the automotive LED player revenue ranking of 2020, OSRAM Opto Semiconductors, Nichia, and Lumileds remained the top three largest automotive LED suppliers, respectively, with a combined market share of 71.9%. In particular, European and American automakers favored OSRAM’s solutions for their high-end vehicle models and NEVs due to the high quality of OSRAM products. Adoption by these automakers subsequently became the main revenue driver of OSRAM’s automotive LED business.

On the other hand, the pandemic caused Japanese automakers to suspend their operations and therefore had a direct impact on the revenues and market shares of Japanese LED suppliers, such as Nichia and Stanley, in 2020. Nichia and Stanley saw their revenues decline by 9.8% YoY and 7% YoY, respectively, and were the two suppliers among the top 10 last year to have shown relatively noticeable declines. Seoul Semiconductor’s nPola and Wicop LED products were adopted by Chinese automakers, including CCAG, SAIC-GM, and NIO, due to these products’ high brightness and compact sizes. Seoul Semiconductor’s market share reached 5.1% in 2020. Finally, not only did other suppliers, including Samsung LED and CREE, deliver consistent performances in the automotive aftermarket (AM) and performance market (PM) segments, but they also gradually began entering the automotive Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) lighting market. Samsung LED and CREE each took seventh and ninth place on the 2020 ranking with a 2.8% and 1.1% market share, respectively.

On the whole, TrendForce finds that automotive demand has been recovering since 4Q20. Accordingly, LED suppliers indicate that their booking orders appear bullish throughout 2021, meaning most LED suppliers now need to extend their product lead times in response. At the same time, LED players indicated that double booking might happen in the near future. Thereby, they will make decisions in light of the actual booking order quantity to see the possibility of increasing prices.

(Cover image source: OSARM)

For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Optoelectronics Research, please click here, or email Ms. Grace Li from the Sales Department at graceli@trendforce.com

2021-01-25

Mini LED Chip Revenue Likely to Reach US$270 Million in 2021 as Battle Over Mini LED Backlight TV Specs Takes Place, Says TrendForce

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As various TV manufacturers such as Samsung, LG, and TCL announced their new models equipped with Mini LED backlights at CES 2021, TrendForce’s 2021 Mini LED New Backlight Display Trend Analysis report shows that total Mini LED chip revenue from Mini LED backlight TVs to potentially reach US$270 million in 2021, as manufacturers gradually overcome technological bottlenecks and lower their overall manufacturing costs, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations.

Mini LED backlight TVs possess a highly cost-effective competitive advantage, as Mini LED backlight costs for the entry-level segment are only 50% higher than traditional LCD equivalents

TrendForce further indicates that, with regards to TV backlight technologies, the cost of Mini LED solutions is about two to three times lower than that of white OLED and entry-level, direct-lit LCD solutions. This cost difference therefore serves as Mini LED technology’s competitive advantage over its competitors in display backlight adoption. At the moment, high-end TVs contain about 16,000 Mini LED chips per TV, divided into 2,000 local dimming zones.

In this market segment, PM (passive matrix) Mini LED TV panels with BLU (backlight unit) still cost about 15% less than OLED TV panels and therefore hold a cost advantage. On the other hand, in the mid-range TV segment, each TV contains about 10,000-12,000 Mini LED chips and 500 local dimming zones, meaning the cost of Mini LED backlight integration in this market segment is about a mere 50% more than entry-level, direct-lit LCD backlight units, making Mini LED a viable alternative to traditional LCD solutions in this segment too. Given the high cost-effectiveness of Mini LED backlight units, TV manufacturers are therefore likely to adopt them as a viable technology and initiate an industry-wide competition over Mini LED TV specs this year.

HDR and 8K resolution will be the two mainstream features of high-end TVs this year. With regards to Korean brands, Samsung’s Neo QLED Mini LED TV and LG’s QNED Mini LED TV, both unveiled at CES this year, are equipped with Mini LED backlights as a performance-enhancing technical feature. These TVs feature not only 8K resolution, but also Mini LED backlight units, which require more than 20,000 Mini LED chips (divided across more than 1,000 local dimming zones, with more than 1,000 nits in peak brightness), in addition to passive matrix FALD technology, which allows for contrast ratios of 1,000,000:1, a significant improvement that puts these TVs on almost equal footing with OLED TVs in terms of image quality. At the same time, China-based TCL is also set to release its OD Zero Mini LED TV, which has comparable specs with Korean offerings and is also equipped with Mini LED backlight units. Going forward, more and more TV manufacturers, such as Hisense and Xiaomi, are expected to participate in the burgeoning Mini LED backlight TV market.

The pace of optimizing Mini LED chips, backplanes, and driver ICs will be key to the Mini LED industry’s rapid expansion

As various manufacturers successively release their Mini LED backlight TVs this year, related companies in the supply chain are expected to benefit as a result. Currently, there are multiple major suppliers of Mini LED components on the market: Chip suppliers include Taiwanese (Epistar and Lextar), Chinese (San’an and HC SemiTek), and Korean (Seoul Semiconductor) companies. Testing and sorting companies include FitTech, Saultech, and YTEC. SMT companies include Taiwan-based Lextar and China-based Hongli Zhihui. Driver IC suppliers include Taiwanese (Macroblock, Elan, Parade, Himax, and Novatek) and Chinese (Chipone) companies. Backplane suppliers include Tawanese (Apex and Zhen Ding Tech) and Korean (Young Poong Group) companies. Panel suppliers include SDC, LGD, AUO, Innolux, BOE, and CSOT.

TrendForce believes that Mini LED backlight displays currently possess a competitive advantage over OLED displays due to the former’s 15% comparatively lower cost. Ultimately, the future development and profitability of the Mini LED backlight market in the long run will depend on the continued optimization of components that account for a relatively higher allocation of backlight costs, including Mini LED chips, Mini LED backplanes, and driver ICs.

For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Optoelectronics Research, please click here, or email Ms. Grace Li from the Sales Department at graceli@trendforce.com

2021-01-19

Shortage Caused by Explosive Growth in Mini LED Demand to Result in 5-10% Price Hike for LED Chips, Says TrendForce

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While major OEMs such as Apple and Samsung prepare to release their new notebook computers, tablets, and TVs that are fully equipped with Mini LED backlights this year, various companies in the LED supply chain began procuring Mini LED chips ahead of time in 4Q20, leading to an explosive demand growth for these chips, which in turn crowded out the LED suppliers’ production capacities for other mainstream LED chips, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations. Given this structure-wide shortage of LED chips, certain LED chip suppliers have been raising the quotes on chips supplied to non-core clients and chips with relatively low gross margins. This price hike is estimated at about 5-10%.

TrendForce further indicates that companies in the downstream LED supply chain have started to aggressively procure components in order to mitigate the impending price hike on raw materials and shortage of components due to manufacturers’ tight production capacities after the Chinese New Year. However, products of certain serial numbers or specifications are already in shortage at the moment, therefore prompting these downstream companies to raise quotes first for small- and medium-size clients who place relatively low-volume orders. As for tier one clients who have relatively higher bargaining power, should they reject such a price hike, they would then need to wait for more than two months in lead times, which is significantly longer than the average of two weeks.

Epistar is currently shipping about 150,000 pcs of Mini LED wafers (4-inch equivalent) per month. As Mini LED chips yield far higher gross margins than do traditional LEDs, Epistar has reallocated some of its production capacities for the latter, less profitable products to Mini LED chip manufacturing instead. On the other hand, San’an and HC SemiTek are directly benefitting from Epistar’s order transfers. In addition to persistently growing demand for traditional LED backlights and RGB LED chips for video walls, San’an and HC SemiTek are also shipping several tens of thousands of Mini LED wafers per month (4-inch equivalent) owing to skyrocketing Mini LED demand.

Worth mentioning is the fact that HC SemiTek’s product strategy of focusing on LED chips for display applications is paying off noticeably. By leveraging its competitive advantage of highly cost-effective products, HC SemiTek’s capacity utilization rates have been fully loaded for two consecutive quarters since 3Q20. On the other hand, about 400,000 pcs in PSS production capacity was suspended last month due to the fire at GAPSS’ fab. This incident led to a 5-10% price hike in key upstream LED chip materials including sapphire wafers and PSS, likely to further exacerbate the price hike and shortage of LED chips.

TrendForce believes that the structural shortage taking place in the LED industry, which led to a price hike for LED chips, can primarily be attributed to the that fact the industry underestimated the production capacity needed for key parts of the supply chain during the infancy of pandemic-related emerging applications, in addition to the corresponding production capacity squeeze, although these issues are expected to be resolved within half a year. As well, the downturn experienced by the LED industry within the past few years led to a clearance of excess capacities and subsequently a highly concentrated supply of key materials in the upstream LED supply chain, including sapphire wafers and PSS. As a result, the suppliers of these key materials now enjoy increased bargaining power in price negotiations. Given the simultaneous increase in material costs and limited material supplies, TrendForce thus forecasts a price hike for LED chips.

For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Optoelectronics Research, please click here, or email Ms. Grace Li from the Sales Department at graceli@trendforce.com

2021-01-07

LiDAR Revenue Expected to Reach US$2.9 Billion in 2025, with ADAS/Autonomous Vehicles as Primary Applications, Says TrendForce

The LiDAR market encompasses such applications as ADAS, autonomous vehicles, industries, deliveries, and smart cities; while these applications are estimated to have driven the LiDAR market to reach US$682 million in revenue in 2020, total LiDAR revenue is projected to further expand to $2.932 billion in 2025, a 34% CAGR, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations.

TrendForce indicates that, with regards to automotive LiDAR applications (ADAS and autonomous vehicles), automakers have continued to release NEVs in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic’s negative impact on the global automotive industry in 2020. Furthermore, these automakers are also equipping ADAS on high-end conventional gasoline vehicles and NEVs alike. As an essential component in SAE levels 4-5 autonomous vehicles, LiDAR systems are used by automakers to both build their databases and increase vehicle location accuracy. In addition to the aforementioned vehicles, automotive LiDARs are also featured in autonomous buses, robo-taxis, and self-driving trucks. Total automotive LiDAR revenue is expected to reach $2.434 billion in 2025. At the moment, major automotive LiDAR suppliers include Velodyne, Valeo, Quanergy Systems, Inc., ibeo, Continental, LeddarTech, INNOVIZ, HESAI, LeiShen, and Luminar, while major LiDAR laser suppliers include OSRAM, Laser Components, Excelitas, and Hamamatsu.

With regards to delivery and logistics, the rising popularity of e-commerce has prompted online vendors and delivery companies to lower their last-mile delivery costs by performing deliveries with autonomous delivery robots, bicycle couriers, and self-driving trucks, thereby leading to an increased demand for delivery robots with self-navigation and autonomous decision-making capabilities. Major e-commerce companies that have been promoting these delivery methods include Alibaba, Amazon, FedEx, and Jingdong (also known as JD.com).

Likewise, the growth of the industrial automation market has been lackluster due to the pandemic, with most companies having deferred their previous expansion plans in consideration of budgets, although certain companies wary of potential future shortages in human labor are investing additional capital into industrial automation development against the market downtrend. Having undergone various deferred developments throughout 2020, the European and North American markets are expected to see surging demand for industrial automation applications starting in 3Q21. On the whole, TrendForce forecasts a $469 million revenue for the industry and delivery LiDAR markets in 2025. Major LiDAR suppliers in these markets currently include SICK, Hokuyo, OMRON, and Velodyne. With increasing market demand on ADAS, autonomous vehicles and industrial automation, LiDAR market value will be encouraged by rising LiDAR usage volume.

For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Optoelectronics Research, please click here, or email Ms. Grace Li from the Sales Department at graceli@trendforce.com

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