Digitimes, the popular though occasionally unreliable Taiwanese technology news platform, has shared fresh intelligence that Japanese mobile device display manufacturers are finally managing to bring significant pricing pressure to bear on their Chinese rivals. According to the Digitimes report, which cites local “industry sources,” Sharp and the government-supported Japan Display conglomerate, the world’s largest manufacturer of smartphone screens, are finally managing to match or beat the prices commanded by Chinese and Taiwanese peers for TFT LCD screens and other digital device display technologies.
Chinese smartphone manufacturers Huawei, TCL and ZTE are cited as some of the makes implicated in the pricing offensive. Digitimes also cites evidence that Taiwanese display manufacturers are likewise under pressure from their Mainland rivals, and that prices across the entire sector have been pushed down amid fierce market competition.
The Digitimes article ignores the rather obvious point, though, that with the possible exception of Sony, Japan has no serious presence in the global smartphone sector, and that sourcing and logisitics considerations alone are likely to drive Chinese smartphone majors to buy from local suppliers rather than source from Japan. Also, Japan Display was originally formed in 2011 with backing from state development investor the Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ), to consolidate the LCD manufacturing units of Sony, Toshiba, and Hitachi into one entity, as one of the few workable strategies to maintain some kind of competitive edge for Japanese manufacturers in an increasingly commoditized and low-end business. And although Japan Display is reportedly the major supplier of screens for the iPhone, Digitimes‘s implication of some Japanese comeback in the display field has to be taken with a pinch of salt when there is no mention of Korean manufacturers like Samsung, or of more advanced device display technologies like AMOLED.