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HannStar Display to set up 5.5G production line

Small- to medium-size TFT-LCD panel maker HannStar Display will set up a new production line planned to be of 5.5th generation in terms of glass substrate size, with production to be targeted for notebook-use panels, according to company vice president Wu Hsu-ho.

HannStar in 2003 set up the existing 5.3G line with monthly capacity of 130,000-140,000 1,200mm x 1,300mm glass substrates.

In view of continued improvement in display specifications, HannStar has decided to set up the new production line to keep abreast of market trends and enhance competitiveness, Wu said. The new line will be used to produce high-resolution, thin and narrow-bezel panels for use in gaming notebooks mainly and in tablets as well, Wu noted.

HannStar has set aside a capex budget of NT$17 billion (US$607 million) for the new production line, with planned monthly capacity of 30,000 glass substrates.

The new production line will be installed at a factory that HannStar acquired from affiliated HannsTouch Solution in 2020, Wu indicated. HannStar is discussing with equipment suppliers and glass substrate makers and has not yet decided on details of the new production line, Wu said. In principle, HannStar will choose 5.5G generation with glass substrate size of 1,300mm x 1,500mm but may select larger sizes, Wu noted. HannStar has not yet decided on when to start construction but plans to have the new production line come into operation in 2023, Wu added.

Panels used in smart wearable devices took up 7% of 2020 total shipments and the shipment proportion is expected to rise to about 10% in 2021, Wu said.

HannStar has downward adjusted shipments for smartphone-use panels based on its operational strategies, with the corresponding shipment proportion slipping from about 30% in 2020 to 20% in the first half of 2021 and expected to further drop in the second half, Wu noted. In contrast, the shipment proportion for industrial panels is expected to rise from 10% in 2020 to 15% in 2021, Wu indicated.

While panels used in notebooks and tablets have larger shipment proportions and demand remains strong, global short supply of ICs may impact shipments for such panels, especially notebook-use applications, in the second half of 2021, Wu said.

HannStar has fully utilized production capacity and the full utilization is expected to continue in the second half of 2021, Wu noted.