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The global market value from the external sales of LED chips grew by 18% from $3.677 billion in 2013 to $4.35 billion in 2014, according to the 2015 Global Sapphire and LED Chip Market Report by LEDinside, a division of TrendForce. The share of Chinese companies in the external sales market also rose from 27% in 2013 to 36% in 2014.
"LED chip manufacturers benefitted from the lighting market's demands and saw their revenues soared in 2014," said Joanne Wu, assistant research manager for LEDinside.
Epistar led in the external sales revenue of LED chips for both 2013 and 2014 due to its technological advantages and stability in customer management. Epistar's rival San'an Opto increased its MOCVD equipment capacity during 2013~2014 as well as exploiting the lowering price trend in the Chinese lighting market. San'an Opto therefore took second place in 2014 with its revenue reaching $565 million. Owing to their capacity expansion efforts, China-based manufacturers ETi and TongFang entered the list of top 10 LED chip manufacturers in 2014, respectively taking $161 million and $145 million in LED chip revenue.
Wu furthermore sees demands in the LED end market will weaken during 2015. However, Chinese and Taiwanese LED chip manufacturers are still actively increasing their production capacities before the end of LED subsidy programs in China. Consequently, the current oversupply situation will become more severe when the additional capacities become available in the second half of this year. On the other hand, the industry's long-term development may gain from the intensifying price war since the competition will eliminate second-tier manufacturers that are without competitive advantages.