Over the past two decades we've seen an explosion of growth in the market for liquid crystal displays, but this growth has also led to its maturation. Companies have scaled up and merged, new firms have brought down costs and production technology has continued to advance, resulting in a cut-throat market for LCDs that offers negligible profit margins. So as we often see in these cases, another competitor is getting ready to bow out: Panasonic is announcing that it will exit production of LCDs by 2021.

This has been a long time in the marking for Panasonic; the company once used to be a leading maker of televisions, but because of intense competition from Chinese and South Korean manufacturers, previously ceased making LCD TVs in 2016. Instead, in recent years the company has focused on production of LCDs for industrial and automotive applications in order to find a more profitable niche of the LCD market. But it looks like even specialization did not produce the kind of returns required by Panasonic, and as a result they are exiting the LCD market altogether. It is interesting to note, however, that they aren't leaving the displays market entirely; the company will continue offering OLED televisions.

Panasonic Liquid Crystal Display Co. — the IPS LCD plant in Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture — was established in 2010 and absorbed all of Panasonic’s LCD assets in 2014. According to Nikkei, Panasonic plans to repurpose the factory to produce automotive batteries and keep all of its 500 employees. Workers who will not be needed at the new facility will be relocated to other facilities that belong to Panasonic and/or will get labor management consultations.

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Source: Panasonic, Nikkei

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  • lilkwarrior - Tuesday, November 26, 2019 - link

    Samsung will be doing QD-OLED starting next year.
  • Santoval - Tuesday, November 26, 2019 - link

    Samsung do not (yet) manufacture OLED TV panels.
  • melgross - Tuesday, November 26, 2019 - link

    We’ll see how that turns out. I’m a bit skeptical right now.
  • mantikos - Wednesday, November 27, 2019 - link

    Sharp is a Chinese manufacturer now...has been for a while
  • imaheadcase - Tuesday, November 26, 2019 - link

    kinda scary really, if LG goes bust for some reason, oled prices would blow up. So much hardware is dependent on a straight supply chain that it can effect a market like crazy. Remember the whole RAM prices craziness a few years back.

    Its not as if LG has lots of OLED tv sitting around to, they often sell out during holidays for discounts they get. Which is not a good sign if something went wrong with LG as a company.

    I know what you think to "Oh they won't ever go under, someone will buy them out, or something to keep running". Not really, these places operate under a ROI strategy, its not always a appealing purchase for anyone.
  • vladx - Tuesday, November 26, 2019 - link

    > Kinda scary really, if LG goes bust for some reason, oled prices would blow up

    It's much more likely that Chinese manufacturers will push both LG and Sharp out of the market. Only Samsung has a shot to survive the Chinese invasion.
  • MamiyaOtaru - Tuesday, November 26, 2019 - link

    "So who, beyond LG, will make OLED Tv panels?"

    ...Panasonic. Like it says in the article. "the company will continue offering OLED televisions."
  • notashill - Tuesday, November 26, 2019 - link

    Panasonic has never made OLED panels. They just make televisions using LG's panels (because those are the only ones that exist).
  • Santoval - Tuesday, November 26, 2019 - link

    Take note of the precise wording : "OLED televisions" does not equate with "OLED panels for televisions".
  • Blaab1 - Tuesday, November 26, 2019 - link

    The interesting thing is that panasonic had a joint venture to make oleds. Now that there is money to be made, maybe again? Funny about Samsung and LG. Takes different expertise to make different size oleds. Like needing to reinvent the wheel going from a size 24 jeans to a size 36.

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