AU Optronics (AUO) expects its newly expanded second-phase facilities at its 8.5G 8B fab in Houli, central Taiwan to reach full-capacity in the third quarter of 2018, propelled by the growing demand for high-end LCD display products.
AUO's first-phase production lines at its 8B fab currently has a production capacity of 77,000 substrates a month, and the second-phase facilities will add an additional capacity of 25,000-30,000 substrates, according to company sources.
AUO has been switching its strategy to focus more on high value-added and large-sized panels to cope with the increasing production capacity coming out from the newer generation LCD fabs in China and the growing popularity of large-sized TVs, said the sources.
AUO is ramping up the capacity at its 8B fab as recent demand for high-end display products has outpaced its supply capacity, revealed the sources, adding that the company is mulling to implement the third-phase expansion project for the fab.
The company currently also operates another 8.5G fab (8A) in the Central Taiwan Science Park (CTSP) with a capacity of 50,000 substrates a month.
Meanwhile, AUO saw its shipments of ultra-large TV panels soared over 20% sequentially in the second quarter of 2018, said the sources, who also estimated that AUO's total shipments of large-sized TV panels to double in 2018 as compared to a year earlier.
In the device-end market, global sales of 65-inch and 75-inch TVs are expected to rally 30-40% and over 50%, respectively, on year in 2018, the sources added.
As the notebook panel market is expected to stay flat or decline slightly in 2018, AUO has been focusing on production of LTPS panels for high-end notebooks with features including bezel-less frames, power-saving, high-resolution and high color saturation.
AUO manage to double sequentially its LTPS notebook panel shipments in the second quarter of 2018 and expects the shipment momentum for LTPS panels to continue into the third quarter.
Meanwhile, AUO also believes that its shipments of automotive-use panels to expand by a double-digit rate in 2018. In particular, shipments of automotive panels integrated with touch solutions are likely to surge 50% on year in 2018.