Polarized Development in Lithium battery in 2011: Joys for Polymer Battery, Concerns for Cylindrical Battery
According to EnergyTrend, a research division under TrendForce, in terms of outlook for 2011, worldwide development of consumer products will continue to show a contrast between the old and the new. As for the battery industry, polarized development and market revolution will likely occur.
Continued Growth in Demand for Polymer Cell, Adopted by Tablet PCs
For the NB series, the rise of Tablet PC has been a trend in 2010, and it is estimated that more Tablet PC series will be introduced into market in 2011. Therefore, polymer cell (lithium battery) used in Tablet PC will be one of the few in the battery industry that can constantly grow under limited supply. Currently, based on our survey, ATL and SONY have been able to supply, while Korean SDI is at the start-up stage. Additionally, brand vendors, such as HP, Dell, Acer, and Asus, have started to launch iPad-like products and use polymer lithium cell. At this stage, most production capacity can only sufficiently supply to Apple, and it is highly probable that tight supply of polymer lithium battery will occur in the future. This tight supply has been the focus of EnergyTrend’s survey, and more research reports under this topic will be provided in the near future.
Prismatic Cell Adopted by Mobile Phone Likely to Increase High Power Products in 2011
Furthermore, prismatic cell has been mainly adopted by mobile phone. However, slim and light features have been a basic requirement for smart phones. Hence, polymer cell, which are slim and thin, is gradually being adopted in mobile phone application. Yet, considering cost management and stable source of battery supply, mobile manufacturers start to seek prismatic cell with high power capacity as an alternative. For instance, SONY has offered a high power capacity product, and it is estimated to launch in 2011. At that time, it will bring about positive changes to the issues on power consumption and battery life of smart phone.
Price of Cylindrical Cell for the NB Market May Be Difficult to Recover in the Short Term
On the other hand, cylindrical cell is the mainstream battery for notebook. Due to weak NB market demand and increasing battery capacity, the price of cylindrical cell decreased sequentially and reached a new low in 2010. As for outlook of NB lithium market in 2011, EnergyTrend forecasts that there may be an oversupply exceeding 20 percent, and prices may be difficult to recover in the short term. Furthermore, one after another, vendors such as SONY and Panasonic are no longer exclusively in the business of battery supply, and currently, only three suppliers, SDI, LGC and Sanyo, are still in business. Furthermore, there is a constant decline in margin rate at the same time. Under the influence of cost pressure, whether these major global suppliers will be transferring orders to Taiwanese assembly plants remains a key focus in the industry. If so, Taiwanese manufacturer will benefit from such order transfer.