China Surpasses South Korea as the World's #1 LCD TV Maker

Mike Wheatley

China has surpassed South Korea to become the world’s number one maker of LCD TVs in terms of units shipped, according to new data from IHS Markit.


The industry watcher said China had overtaken South Korea after tallying numbers from the first three quarters of 2018. A total of 152 million LCD TVs were shipped worldwide during that period, with Chinese firms accounting for 31.9 percent overall. In comparison, South Korea shipped out just 30.6 percent of the total, with Japan coming in third with 14.6 percent of the market.

A look at the third quarter’s figures in isolation shows that China seems to be expanding its lead too. During that period, Chinese firms shipped 34.7 percent of all LCD TVs, IHS Markit said.

China’s lead stems from the enormous appetite for new TVs among Chinese consumers, but in recent years some of the country’s best-known firms have began looking outwards. Companies such as Hisense and TCL have become serious competitors to more established brands such as LG and Samsung in Korea, and Sony and Sharp in Japan.

That’s not a surprise when you consider the advances Chinese firms have made in recent years. TCL for example, showed off a 75-inch 8K Mini-LED television at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last month that seems every bit as good as its Korean rivals’ latest offerings. Hisense, meanwhile, displayed its own ability to innovate at CES with the launch of its ULED XD TV series, which pair two separate panels (one is black and white only) to produce deeper blacks than is possible with a single panel.

Chinese brands are often significantly cheaper, too.

China’s TV industry has been gathering steam for quite some time anyhow. In 2017, it overtook South Korea in terms of LCD TV panels shipments, and IHS Markit analysts told BusinessKorea that it’s only a matter of time before Chinese brands catch up with the Korean counterparts.

“Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics are still the top two players in the global TV market, but it is only a matter of time that China will take the initiative,” the analyst firm said.