Q: It was announced today that planned volume production of IGZO panels at the Kameyama Second Plant was delayed by two months. What is the cause of the delay?
Katayama: It is not that there is a problem in the production of IGZO panels. The delay occurred in the process of embedding panels in final products. But we will start to ship IGZO panels in volume within February 2012.
Speaking of IGZO panels, we targeted them only at smartphones and tablet computers at first. But, probably, we can apply them to larger screens. Specifically, there is an increasing demand for our IGZO panels for use in notebook computers equipped with a high resolution display and monitors (for desktop computers, etc). In regard to middle- and small-size panels, we intend to expand the business as early as possible by taking advantage of IGZO panels.
Q: Korean makers will commercialize large-screen OLED TVs. How are you going to respond to such a movement?
Katayama: LCD TVs are suffering from severe price decline. And it is very important to add value to them and increase their prices. This is a difficult challenge. And we are still not sure whether OLED panels will be a solution for Sharp.
What we should do now is not to think about competition with Korean makers. All we can do now (for Sharp's LCD TV business) is to sell 60-inch and larger high-end products in the global market no matter how niche the market for them is.
No maker in the world can turn a profit with commoditized LCD TVs (like 32-inch products) anymore because of the extraordinary price drop. However, demand for flat-panel TVs will continue to exist. Now that demand for flat-panel TVs has leveled off, it is important to consider how to establish a new TV market and add value to it. We cannot stay in the stagnant market.
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