Report: Coronavirus Outbreak Caused 20% Production Drop for LCD and Other Panel Types

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According to a recent DigiTimes report, the coronavirus outbreak is expected to have lowered global display panel production by 20% in February 2020. Citing unnamed "industry sources," it said output will only be 5-10% lower in March. 

The outbreak has reportedly prevented BOE Technology, one of the largest panel suppliers, from ramping up its production capacity at the 10.5G LCD fab in Wuhan. According to the report, the outbreak has also lowered the production of Samsung Display's factory in Suzhou and LG Display's LCD fab in Guangzhou. 

The backend LCD module (LCM) plants of AU Optronics (AUO) and Innolux in China are also said to have seen lower output due to an insufficient number of workers returning after the Lunar New Year holiday.

The lower panel output across the industry has led to an increase in prices of $4 to $5 for 55-inch TVs, and $2 to $3 for 32-inch, 43-inch and 65-inch TVs, DigiTimes said. 

Meanwhile, prices of monitor panels have reportedly remained stable in February, following a continuous decline over the past year. The coronavirus outbreak has also reportedly led to a 20% drop in supply for monitor panels.

The prices of panels for laptop screens have also remained stable, even though their production decreased by 30% in February, DigiTimes said. 

Around 30%-40% of the smaller display panel makers in China also haven’t gained approval to resume their operations, so material and component shortages are expected to last for at least the next two months.

Major Chinese smartphone brands, such as Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo, are also expected to reduce their orders due to an already high stock at distribution channels in China. 

The COVID-19 outbreak should also lower the sale of 5G smartphones from 125 million to 115 million in China and from 220 million to 210 million globally, according to DigiTimes sources.

Lucian Armasu
Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers software news and the issues surrounding privacy and security.