Samsung Electronics has reported record profits for the fourth quarter of 2012 because of strong sales from its mobile communications products, but it's a big contrast - yet no surprise - to hear the Korean giant (it is a giant in major ICT sectors - smartophones, semiconductor and LCD panels) describe how its panel business "struggled, as demand for IT panels for notebooks and monitors remained slow."
The may have found some solace in the fact that profitability in LCD panels for TVs and OLED panels for smartphones prevented wider losses.
Indeed, all major LCD panel makers have been struggling. Samsung's peers in Taiwan, AU Optronics (AUO) and Innolux have yet to report their earnings for fourth-quarter 2012, but the results won't be significant to return them to profitability.
Makers in the fast maturing LCD industry have been looking for ways to bail themselves out. They have been rolling out TV panels of new and bigger sizes, and at the same time shifting their focus to OLED. But it remains to be seen when they can return to profits, and until then, they will likely continue struggling.