SEOUL, April 30 (Reuters) - LG Electronics (066570.KS) has claimed the top spot in the plasma screen business in the first quarter thanks to surging demand for affordable flat screen televisions, market rearch firm DisplaySearch said.
“Strong growth of 32-inch panels continued, rising from 11 percent to 15 percent of shipments during the quarter, as LCD (liquid crystal display) supply remains tight and demand remains strong in developing markets for low priced flat panel TVs,” DisplaySeach said in a statement dated April 29.
LG shipped 34.8 percent of panels in the PDP market in the first quarter.
Japan’s Matsushita Electric Industrial Co (6752.T) fell from No. 1 to No. 3 with a 27 percent market share, the first time it has not been the top player since the third quarter of 2006.
DisplaySearch said the popularity of 32-inch plasma display panels (PDPs), made by LG alone, explained LG’s 97 percent year-on-year growth and its ride to the top from No.2.
LG’s home rival Samsung SDI (006400.KS) moved up a spot to No. 2, with 30.5 percent of the market, thanks largely to increased shipments of 42-inch screens.
“PDP still has a price advantage over LCD,” DisplaySearch said, but added, “the price difference will narrow by the end of the year.”
Plasma display was once the most cost-effective technology for big flat TVs, but it lost the dominance as makers such as Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (005930.KS) and Sharp Corp (6753.T) ramped up large LCD TV output and found a way to lower prices enough to start eating away at plasma’s hold on the market.
PDP shipments in the first quarter rose 53 percent from a year earlier to 3.5 million units, although the number shrank 19 percent from the previous quarter for seasonal reasons. (Reporting by Marie-France Han; Editing by Rhee So-eui and Keiron Henderson)