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從鴻、夏結盟看面板產業 (2016-07-14 IEK產業情報網 )

The alliance between Hon Hai and Sharp not only produces a profound impact on both parties, but also generates a territorial shift in the future of the global panel industry. Hon Hai will possess the technology and the production capacity to manufacture panels of every size and dimension. With Hon Haig's vertical production integration and its client capacity, coupled with Sharp's Japanese-style deep-rooted technology and excellent management culture, if the merger ignites a spark between the two cultures, a brand new paradigm in the panel industry can be expected.



Taiwan-Japan Cooperation to Initiate Industry New Paradigm
In the cost structure of high-end mobile phones, the cost of the panel (including touch panel) accounts for twenty percent. Its importance surpasses the processor chips, making it an important link in Hon Hai's supply chain. But, there are only three suppliers worldwide who can supply Apple's high-end mobile phone panels: Sharp and JDI of Japan, and LGD of Korea. For Sharp, although it occupies an 18% market share of LTPS processed panels, and leads the world in Oxide TFT technology, it lacks the capital to invest in the resources required for the next generation display technologies, such as AMOLED. For Hon Hai, even though it is the primary OEM partner for Apple with cash reserves totaling 600 billion NT dollars, it needs to master the technology and production capacity of the key components to create an unbeatable strategic partnership. Considering the positioning of Apple's core technology and its supply chain management, Sharp's bankruptcy or its takeover by any Korean company would not be good news, so Hon Hai coming to Sharp's aid is clearly more beneficial for Apple.
In terms of large-size display panels, not only can Hon Hai secure 20% of the global production capacity of large display panels, but also the economical cutting of glass substrates of the 10th generation LCD manufacturing in Sharp's Sakai plant may be complementary to Hon Hai's Innolux Corp. The panel alliance between Hon Hai and Sharp may be able to achieve the perfect combination of clients, technologies and capital.
As for Korean manufacturers, even though Samsung currently has more than a 90 percent market share of global mobile phone AMOLED panels, brand manufacturers in each nation are concerned about Samsung's practice of cooperating in their component supply chain while competing against them in product branding. Korean manufacturers are feeling the pressure, facing the alliance of Sharp's advanced technology and Hon Hai's strong vertical integration capability and famous customer relations. For Japan's JDI, not only could Sharp help fill the gap in its lack of large-size panels, Sharp could also help improve its supply chain position with Apple.
Taiwan's panel industry has been focusing on debt ratio reduction since 2008, so its investment in LTPS and AMOLED high-end panels has been on the conservative side. Despite the fact that the industry may have repeated gains in the small-to-medium size niche market for automobile and industrial use, its global LTPS panel market share for high-end mobile phones is still less than 10 percent. The Hon Hai-Sharp alliance will significantly improve Taiwan's technology and increase its market share in small-size panels, and the high-end small-size panel market will be equally divided between Taiwan, Japan, and Korea. In the meantime, other manufacturers in Taiwan may rethink the roles they play in the competition for the next generation displays. Only ample investment in R&D and innovation can ensure profit gains and growth for these enterprises.



Integrating Technology Innovation and Strategic Partners
The panel industry in Taiwan may have laid a good foundation in the past, but future competition will be brutal. In particular, with major manufacturers in Japan, Korea, and Mainland China being supported by their national resources, it will be even harder for Taiwanese vendors to fight the battle alone. Taiwan's manufacturers have made insufficient investment in the R&D of advanced technology in the past, and have also missed the opportunity of getting into the panel market for high-end mobile phones. The next phase for Hon Hai and Sharp is facing the challenge of integrating different corporate cultures of the strategic partners which is the primary cause for 70% of failed merger cases. It is our expectation that both corporations will undergo business culture re-integration, so as to write a new page in the history of the panel industry and to bring new inspiration to the various industries in Taiwan that are struggling with transformation and upgrading strategies.
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