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Global panel makers ramping up output for notebook applications

Global LCD panel makers are setting higher shipment targets for notebook applications in 2021, expecting current robust panel demand from the notebook sector will persist at least in the first half of the year, according to industry sources.

Thanks to the ongoing work-from-home (WFH) activities, the makers believe demand for notebooks from the business sector is likely to gain momentum shortly to replace that from the educational sector, keeping panel demand in high gear, said the sources.

Bolstered by solid notebook demand from the educational sector, global notebook shipments experienced an over 20% annual growth to surpass 200 million units for the first time ever in 2020, noted the sources.

Notebook procurement from the aviation industry is expected to resume, the sources said. The financial relief measures by governments and the continued deployments of 5G networks will encourage more enterprises to upgrade their ICT tools such as notebooks to support WFH activities, the sources added.

Taiwan-based AU Optronics (AUO) has said that it will expand its capex in 2021 focusing on ramping up its output of LCD panels for IT and other premium applications.

Fellow company Innolux now is the second-largest vendor for notebook panels worldwide, having managed to ramp up its notebook panel shipments by 50% sequentially in the second half of 2020, the sources noted.

In 2021, AUO is likely to see its notebook panel shipments grow 17% on year to 52 million units, and Innolux's will increase 11% to 50 million units, according to data from Omdia.

China-based panel makers will also be keen on ramping up notebook panels in 2021. BOE Technology aims to boost its shipments by 6% to 60 million units; China Star Optoelectronics Technology (CSOT) will double its shipments to 3.6 million units; and Chongqing HKC is likely to ship 400,000 units in the year.

LG Display aims to jack up its notebook panel shipments 3% to 36 million units in 2021, while Sharp's will stay flat at 10 million units, Omdia estimates.