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Wednesday, February 16, 2005
DTV market to expand 50% in China

China?s Digital TV (DTV) manufacturers enjoyed an outstanding year in 2004, with nearly 100% market growth? as Taiwanese DigiTimes reports.

Although the 2004 growth represents a slowing of DTV market expansion, this segment is still expected to enlarge by approximately 50% in 2005, and China?s total DTV production is projected to reach 7.2 million units, 92% of which will be sold to domestic consumers.

The hottest DTV products in China will likely be domestically-produced 42-inch PDP (plasma display panel) and 32-inch LCD sets. Due mainly to the sharply declining prices of these panels, which are estimated to fall to US$600 and US$550, respectively, later this year, the retail prices of these two products are expected to decline to 9,999 yuan (about US$1,210) ? or even less ? by the end of 2005.

This attractive pricing will appeal to China?s more affluent families ? i.e. those with annual salaries exceeding US$10,000 ? of which there are 15 million as of early 2005, compared to 8 million families a year earlier, according to iSuppli. Meanwhile, the major focus of China?s DTV OEMs will continue to be the digital CRT-TV market; indeed, this segment will account for 63% of China?s total DTV production in 2005.

Local OEMs truly dominate this market. In 2004, the top six local OEMs ? Skyworth, TTE, Konka, Hisense, Changhong and Xoceco and TTE (A joint venture between TCL and Thomson) ? accounted for 94% of China?s CRT DTV output, and this year is likely to be similar. Encouraged by the explosive growth of the DTV market, China?s DTV semiconductor consumption likely will expand by 25% in 2005 to reach US$286 million, iSuppli predicts.

DTV semiconductor prices likely will fall by an average of 15% in 2005.

The biggest change for China?s DTV semiconductor market in 2005 is that suppliers of TV processors will experience more intense price competition, mainly due to the vigorous approaches taken by new Taiwanese entrants such as MStar, MediaTek and Sunplus. Another entrant is Huaya, a new Chinese supplier of display processors.

Due to their low pricing, these newcomers are expected to achieve market share of approximately 20% in 2005. Specifically, they will likely take share from mainstream controller suppliers such as Trident, Pixelworks and Genesis, which held an estimated 98% of the China market in 2004.

The decentralized market for display processors is expected to lead to the disruption of partnerships for the other DTV semiconductor suppliers. The segments to be affected are those of microcontrollers, video decoders, audio processors, tuners, memory and other parts relevant to DTV system design. The other major trend for China?s DTV semiconductor market in 2005 is that innovative designs for integrated DTVs ? especially for digital CRT and LCD TVs ? will become essential.

Driving this trend will be the domestic integrated DTV market, which will emerge more fully in 2006 as well as the potentially large US market. In the latter market, the adoption of integrated receivers installed in DTV sets is being pushed by US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mandates. To be permitted to ship into the US market, the Chinese DTV manufacturers will need more integrated designs in the 2005-2007 period.

China?s LCD-TV production operates using a different paradigm from that of digital CRT-TV manufacturing. The former is dominated by Taiwan-based Original Design Manufacturers (ODMs) such as BenQ, Compal, Tatung, Quanta and AOC, while digital CRT-TV production is dominated by local OEMs. Understanding these dedicated OEM-ODM relationships is required if the TV-processor suppliers are to gain more design wins in this rapidly growing market.

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