What are the problems facing the LED industry?

What are the problems facing the LED industry? Some strategic emerging industries in China are still at the low end of the industrial chain due to lack of independent intellectual property rights and core technologies. The added value of products is not high. Especially for strategic emerging industries such as LED, after experiencing the “bones will come and pigs will fly” in the bonus era, suddenly fell into overcapacity, falling product prices, the development of small and micro enterprises on the verge of collapse. What are the reasons? The author participated in related research groups and conducted research in Shenzhen and Shanghai. Through the investigation of the LED industry, it is found that the problems and constraints that China's strategic emerging industries face in the development process are common and worthy of in-depth analysis.

Since 2011, affected by the external economic recession, the LED industry, which is an important part of the strategic emerging industries, has experienced a period of developmental crisis, such as overcapacity, falling product prices, and the collapse of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, especially in 2011. The collapse of Bolente Optoelectronics and the 2012 vision of Optoelectronics, Kabon, Andy Optoelectronics, and a series of LED star companies closed down, has aroused our concern. In order to understand the main problems and constraints in the development of the LED industry and the demand for macroeconomic policies, we will accelerate the development of the LED industry, avoid the development of "scale expansion, light technology innovation" and strive to achieve "scientific development." From September 9th to September 16th, 2012, we went to Shenzhen and Shanghai, cities where China’s LED City is known, and conducted research with government agencies such as Shenzhen, Shanghai Development and Reform, and LED industry associations of Shenzhen and Shanghai. Leaders of key enterprises conducted a discussion and conducted field research on a number of key companies in the field of LED lighting. They tried to understand in depth the development status of China's LED industry and the difficulties and problems encountered in the development process.

What are the difficulties and problems faced by LED industry development?

LED industry as an important part of the country's strategic emerging industries, with the support of all levels of government and the access of various sources of funds, the LED industry continues to expand, showing a rapid development trend. However, we also found that starting from 2011, with the LED industry gradually mature, various factors such as investment overheating, debt crisis in Europe, labor costs, rising RMB exchange rate elasticity, quality issues, and price/performance issues will have different impacts. , Not only the domestic LED companies into a large-scale loss of the development of the crisis, but also because some well-known LED companies have closed down the LED industry will continue to push the cusp, making the LED industry exposed many important issues worth our attention. In the survey, companies are full of confidence in the future, but also admitted that the current development is facing the following difficulties and problems.

First, the pace of capacity expansion is too fast and market competition is becoming increasingly fierce.

In recent years, more and more companies and capital have been beset by relatively high expected industry gross margins, lower industry entry thresholds and a broad potential market, and have competed to enter the LED industry with the support of local governments. Private capital and publicly raised capital have been invested in the LED industry. According to data provided by Shenzhen LED Industry Federation, since 2009, China's LED industry has absorbed more than 80 billion yuan in overseas investment. At the same time, according to the statistics of the China National Engineering Research Institute for Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, in 2011, China's LED industry had a total of 132 new investment projects (in excess of 100 million yuan) over the previous year, an increase of 58 over 2010. In 2011, more than 400 new MOCVD equipments were installed in China, accounting for 60% of the global new devices.

In addition, according to entrepreneurs, local governments such as Yangzhou, Jiangmen, and Wuhu have continued to provide substantial subsidies for the purchase of MOCVD equipment for the production of LED epitaxial wafers since 2009 and 2010. According to the statistics of China National Engineering Research Institute for Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, from 2009 to early 2011, MOCVD equipment in Yangzhou, Jiangmen, and Wuhu, which only introduced equipment subsidy preferential policies, reached 630 units, accounting for 50% of the total domestic MOCVD plans. Entrepreneurs believe that this "leap-forward" development of "one-on-one effort" has led to an explosive growth of LED capacity in the short term, and will be added domestically in the next two years according to the production cycle of one and a half to two years. At the peak of capacity release, industry competition will become increasingly fierce.

The intensely competitive LED market will inevitably lead to the frequency of price wars since 2011. Data show that since 2011, the upstream sapphire substrate material has dropped more than 50%, the price of 2-inch sapphire substrate has dropped from US$35/piece to US$10/chip in the third quarter of 2012; the low-power 7.5mil*7.5mil Blu-ray The prices of chips and high-powered 45mil*45mil blue chips decreased by 55.9% and 55.0% in 2011, respectively. The sharp price cuts in the upstream and downstream products directly drove down the prices of downstream applications, and the price of some LED terminal applications dropped by more than 50%.

Some entrepreneurs pointed out that the current price war in LED terminal products is very common, many product prices are quoted once a month, an ordinary LED fluorescent lamp was 200 yuan two years ago, a year ago was 150 yuan, half a year ago was 100 Yuan, now only 80 yuan; again as an outdoor full-color P16 display, the price in 2009 is 8,000 yuan to 10,000 yuan per square meter, and so far, the price has been reduced to 4,000 yuan per square meter, can be said that the price A straight decline. Although the price reduction is conducive to the promotion of LED products, at least in the short term, companies in the LED industry will face a certain degree of decline in product prices if their production costs are not reduced at the same or faster rate. In the shock, they have to endure the pain caused by short-term adjustments. As the industry enterprises in Shenzhen and Shanghai, the key development areas in the nation's LED industry, they also experienced the impact from the market first and most deeply.

Second, the overall profit of the industry has continued to decline, and the “shuffle” pattern has taken shape.

Affected by the impact of the European debt crisis, European and American LED market demand is weak. At the same time, the United States, the European Union and other countries and regions have increased the barriers to entry of LED products, and proposed energy-saving environmental protection, eco-design, energy efficiency labels for imported directional lamps and LED lighting products, Tests and inspections, such as higher and more stringent requirements, for this reason, many domestic LED companies fell into a situation of sharp decline in export orders. Since 2012, profits have been negatively or slowly growing. For example, as of mid-August, the 20 LED listed companies that released the 2012 semi-annual report showed that half of their operating revenues showed a negative growth trend, 15 companies’ operating profits declined, and 70% had a significant decline in their net profits. Among them, Wei Wei shares are expected to drop by as much as 94.12% to 95.85%; Huacan Optoelectronics realized a total profit of 43.6358 million yuan in the first half of the year, a decrease of 39.25% from the same period of 2011; Zhouming Technology's first-half net profit of 16.34 million yuan, a year-on-year decrease of 25.87%. %. At the same time, several well-known companies in the industry, such as Duo Duoli, Bolente Optoelectronics, and Vision Optoelectronics, have been closed down due to poor management.

According to Shenzhen LED Industry Federation, the LED industry has not seen the so-called "flood", but the worsening of the environment, LED companies, especially the downstream SMEs difficult days. During the investigation, some entrepreneurs in the LED display industry also reported that the gross profit margin of the LED display industry was 30% or more 40%. However, with the intensified competition and the sharp drop in export orders, the industry's profit margin has dropped sharply; The gross profit of the LED display industry is generally maintained at 15-20%, and the net profit is generally 7-8%. Some entrepreneurs even pointed out that for the downstream segment, due to low industry barriers, the proportion of profitable companies in Shenzhen LED lighting will not exceed 20%, 80% of companies do not make money in the field of LED lighting.

In the bankruptcy of small- and micro-LED enterprises, the decline of orders and profits of small and medium-sized LED companies, it is a few leading enterprises in the industry to seek listing financing under the stimulation of policy dividends. According to statistics, in the first quarter of 2012, a total of six LED companies were officially listed and issued, and two companies will be waiting for it. These include well-known lighting companies such as Wanrun Technology, Fangfang Lighting, Jufei Optoelectronics, Huacan Optoelectronics, and Liad. Entrepreneurs in the survey generally believe that the listing of LED companies is conducive to the establishment of their own development base for the industry to recover through the vertical and horizontal expansion of the upstream and downstream industries. Moreover, in the current downturn of the LED industry, the gap between the scale and efficiency of enterprises will gradually enlarge, the industry profits will be increasingly concentrated to the dominant companies with technology and market, and in the next 2-3 years, the LED market will be reshuffled and integrated. Speed ​​will increase.

In addition, as chip prices continue to decline due to capacity pressures, the profitability of the upstream and downstream chip industries of the LED industry has dropped significantly; for example, Shenyang Fangda Semiconductor Lighting's 2011 net profit was affected by the continuous decline in LED epitaxial wafers and chip prices. Loss of 17.29 million yuan. At the same time, entrepreneurs believe that the continuous increase in manpower, land, and other costs in recent years has meant that for large companies in the upper reaches of the LED industry, it means a sharp drop in gross profit; for small and medium-sized enterprises, it means low profit and struggle for survival.

Third, there is a shortage of development funds and lack of channels for market expansion.

Entrepreneurs believe that in 2011, under the tightening monetary policy environment, due to restrictions on quotas, constraints on deposits and loans, and other factors, it has made it more difficult for domestic enterprises to obtain bank loans; The impact on the LED industry is more extensive and in-depth. Rejecting loans, delaying lending, reducing quotas, and changing long-term loans to short-term loans have become the banks’ usual tricks for responding to LED companies. LED SMEs have to face financing difficulties.

According to the understanding of Shenzhen LED Industry Federation, LED small and micro enterprises currently obtain working capital through joint guarantees, guarantee companies, or small loan companies, but these methods of obtaining funds or access thresholds are too high, or the certification qualifications are too stringent. Or the interest and risk are too high, often making small and micro enterprises stay away but have to take the risk. At the same time, under the influence of slumping product prices and decline in orders, domestic small and medium-sized LED companies have basically lost their self-accumulated endogenous financing functions, and many LED companies are facing financial difficulties. More entrepreneurs pointed out that for the LED industry, it is even more necessary to be alert to the “triangular debt” that has been in the industry for many years. Once the capital chain breaks, many companies will fall into bankruptcy. The fall of star companies such as Vision Electronics is a vivid example.

In addition, in the face of shrinking orders from overseas markets, domestic LED companies hope to seek a development path of “export to domestic sales”; it should be said that LED manufacturing enterprises engaged in foreign trade and exports are in terms of quality and technology. Has a certain advantage. However, the foreign LED market has a relatively complete competition system. As long as the product quality is reliable, it does not mean that there is no better market. However, the domestic market is relatively immature. The key to product competitiveness comes from the low price of products, the public relations capability of the company and the personal relationship. Therefore, how to create new human resources and public relations capabilities, establish sales channels for entering supermarkets and specialized supporting markets, shift from a single outward-oriented development to making full use of domestic and foreign markets, and become a number of LED manufacturers engaged in foreign trade exports. The dilemma faced.

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