Coronavirus is slowing LCD production, and TV and monitor prices are expected to climb as a result

Five LCD fabs in Wuhan, China, are affected right now with more on the way

Credit: Dreamstime

At least five LCD display factories at the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak are suffering production slowdowns, which is turn is expected to have an effect on the supply and pricing of displays used in PCs and LCD TVs.

Five LCD fabs reside in Wuhan, China, which has basically been shut down to prevent the coronavirus from spreading. Informa Tech’s IHS Markit service said Friday that they expect that the capacity utilisation for all LCD fabs in China could fall by at least 10 per cent and by as much as 20 per cent during February.

As a result, LCD panel prices are expected to rise. IHS said that preliminary estimates say that per-panel prices could rise $1 to $2, but could go as high as $3 to $5. That might not sound like much, but manufacturers typically tack on extra profit margins at each stage of production, potentially raising sale prices somewhat higher.

IHS estimates that about 55 per cent of all LCD panels in the world will ship from China in 2020, meaning that the Chinese outbreak will have worldwide effects on the supply chain.

Five fabs are in Wuhan itself, including two fabs owned by China Star Optoelectronics Technology, two owned by Tianma, and one BOE fab.

“Display facilities in Wuhan currently are dealing with the very real impacts of the coronavirus outbreak,” said David Hsieh, senior director of displays, at IHS Markit technology research, in a statement.

“These factories are facing shortages of both labour and key components as a result of mandates designed to limit the contagion’s spread. In the face of these challenges, top display suppliers in China have informed our experts that a near-term production decline is unavoidable.”

The government has also extended the Lunar New Year vacation through February 2.

IHS reported seeing panic buying, including double-booking, where a buyer will buy as much as they need from two suppliers just to ensure that they’ll be able to get the supplies they require. Even if the supplies are there, IHS also said that production at several key third-party LCD module suppliers has now ceased, severely impacting panel production throughout the country.

Besides the slowdown in production at fabs that are already operating, IHS said that it expects new fabs to not come on line as quickly as expected.

All this is expected to have a direct effect on LCD panel pricing, and possibly ripple effects through laptop manufacturing as well. It’s worth noting that while Intel and AMD did not cite coronavirus effects among their forecasts, Microsoft did, with a broader than usual forecast for the second half of the year.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags tv

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Mark Hachman

Mark Hachman

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers


This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang


It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?