Internet crackdown drives China LCD boom

Internet crackdown drives China LCD boom

LCD monitor sales almost double in one year

Strong growth in sales of flat panel LCD monitors drove a 37.6 per cent year-on-year increase in PC monitor sales in China, according to a new market survey. With sales of traditional CRT monitors plummeting, LCD sales almost doubled, rising 92.5 per cent, said an analyst from research firm, IDC. In all, 8.18 million monitors were sold during the third quarter of 2007.

The unprecedented surge in LCD sales was in part an unforseen effect of an ongoing government crackdown on internet use. China's government is trying to increase its control of the population's internet use and also prevent access to websites that authorities see as undesirable.

As part of this drive, the government announced that it would stop issuing licences for new internet cafés on July 1 this year. More than 70 per cent of the country's population accesses the internet through one of China's 130,000 legal and illegal internet cafés. An avalanche of new internet cafés opened their doors in the months leading up to the deadline. The great majority of these appear to have purchased LCD monitors, according to IDC analyst, Fiona Wu. The largest internet cafés in China may have as many as 400 PCs.

As sales increase, China's consumers are also buying larger LCD monitors. " Due to the shortage of smaller PC monitor LCD panels, prices of 15 inch and 17 inch LCD monitors rose slightly. Conversely, prices of wide-screen and larger size panels continued to fall. As the price difference between the 17 inch and 19 inch sizes narrows, more consumers tended to purchase the 19 inch LCD monitors," Wu said in a statement to press.