Localization of liquid crystal materials

Localization of liquid crystal materials

In recent years, China's LCD panel industry has continued to grow and develop, and the upstream support has always been a “short board” for industrial development. Especially in the liquid crystal material market where the foreign ownership ratio exceeds 90%, Chinese companies are still in a disadvantageous position. A few days ago, the General Office of the National Development and Reform Commission and the General Office of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology jointly issued a notice on organizing and implementing issues relating to the development and industrialization of new flat panel displays. One of the highlights was to support high generation (6th generation and above) thin film transistors. Liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) R&D and industrialization of high performance hybrid liquid crystal materials. However, from an objective point of view, although China's domestic production of liquid crystal materials has made some progress, but the proportion of localization is still very low, the localization of liquid crystal materials lags behind the development of other materials in the industry chain. How to improve the supporting capabilities of flat panel display upstream materials, how to explore the localization of liquid crystal panel materials, has become a major issue facing the development of the industry.

Hundred tons of material market countries yield less than 10%

Although the liquid crystal material only accounts for about 3% of the total cost of the LCD panel, it is a key raw material for the LCD panel. Zhao Yong, vice president of China Star Optoelectronics, told the author that the glass substrate is in the first place, followed by the polarizer, and the liquid crystal material is in the third place. The realization of localization of liquid crystal materials is of great significance to the development of the industry.

However, as with many other upstream raw materials, the share of domestic TFT liquid crystal materials in the global market is still limited, and the huge TFT material market is dominated by foreign companies. In 2013, three companies, Merck, JNC and DIC, had a global market share of 96%. It can be said that TFT liquid crystal materials are basically a monopoly market.

According to data provided by Gao Hongjin, a professor at Tsinghua University, the global demand for liquid crystal materials in 2013 was more than 600 tons. The demand for China's BOE liquid crystal material is about 38 tons (the Hefei 8.5-generation line is not counted), and Huaxing Photoelectric is about 28 tons. Gao Hongjin estimates that the demand for liquid crystal materials in mainland China in 2013 totaled about 90 tons, of which 80 tons of liquid crystal materials were used abroad. From the data provided by the Liquid Crystal Branch of the China Optics and Optoelectronics Industry Association, the liquid crystal material market has a greater demand. The data shows that in 2013, the global demand for liquid crystal materials was about 667 tons, an increase of 8.7% year-on-year, of which the demand in the Chinese market was about 161 tons, an increase of 19.3% year-on-year. The LCD branch expects that the demand for global liquid crystal materials will increase by 8.7% in 2014 to reach 725 tons, while the demand in the Chinese market will increase by 22% to reach a scale of nearly 200 tons.

The patent is subject to the backwardness in people's TFT upgrade. In recent years, China has continuously developed the liquid crystal material industry. At present, there are more than a dozen companies related to liquid crystal materials of a certain scale in China, but most of them produce TN/STN liquid crystal materials and monomer materials. There are few companies that can really provide TFT hybrid LCDs to LCD panel makers. It can be said that during the black-and-white display period, liquid crystal materials were the best among all raw materials, but domestic companies started late in the research of TFT liquid crystal materials, coupled with the restrictions of foreign manufacturers' patents, the localization of TFT liquid crystal materials in The proportion of the entire TFT-LCD industry chain is still relatively low.

The reporter learned that domestic companies that make TFT hybrid liquid crystal materials include Cheng Zhi Yonghua and Jiangsu Hecheng. Wang Kui, general manager of Chengzhi Yonghua, told the author that Cheng Zhi Yonghua has gradually increased from the initial annual output of 200KG black and white LCD to the annual production capacity of 40 tons of black and white hybrid LCD. In order to break through the monopoly of foreign-funded enterprises, it will occupy a place in the TFT liquid crystal material market. From 2015 to 2016, Chengzhi Yonghua will invest 120 million yuan to build the second phase of a TFT production base in Shijiazhuang, with a production capacity of 50 tons of black and white hybrid LCDs. 100 tons of mixed liquid crystal.

It is understood that in the TFT-LCD development, domestic LCD materials did not keep pace with the growth of the main reasons, on the one hand, liquid crystal material manufacturers to produce stable, high-performance LCD products is relatively difficult, there is a high technical barriers China's corporate technology is relatively backward; on the other hand, companies such as Merck, JNC, and DIC have established a fairly solid patent camp, and Chinese companies are subject to patents.

The gap is expected to shrink, but the giants are also accelerating their deployment. However, experts have also proposed the opportunity to “carry over”. Hu Chunming of the Liquid Crystal Branch of the China Optics and Optoelectronics Industry Association stated that China should actively seek breakthroughs in key common technologies. Global liquid crystal materials are developing toward “rapid response” and “high-definition”, the market share of TN-LC will be rapidly reduced, and the market share of IPS-LC, VA-LC, and FFS-LC will increase. Chinese enterprises have just formed a certain market in the low-end TN-LC field, but the market demand is rapidly changing, and Chinese companies should also take measures to respond quickly.

It is worth noting that DIC and Merck launched their own mixed-crystal factories in Qingdao and Shanghai respectively in November and December last year, as they are optimistic about China's future huge market. It is understood that DIC Qingdao mixed crystal factory annual production capacity of about 24 tons, the main attack IPS-LC; Merck Shanghai mixed crystal factory annual production capacity of about 50 tons, product diversity. The landing of foreign companies in China poses a serious challenge to the development of domestic enterprises to some extent. Under such circumstances, Chinese enterprises must speed up technology research and development, focus on solving the disadvantages, and make up the gap with foreign companies in the fastest time.

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