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Hardware Technology - Demand outlook remains uncertain, a challenging 4Q18 for tech hardware sector ahead

作者: Kevin CHEN
時間: 2018年11月02日
重要性: 一般報告
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摘要: Report title:Hardware Technology - Demand outlook remains uncertain, a challenging 4Q18 for tech hardware sector ahead
Analyst:Kevin CHEN
Report type:Industry
Date:20181102
[Summary]

■ Investor remained concerned for the tech hardware sector; a prolonged China-US trade tension could hurt end demand ■ We expect challenges to persist through the rest of 2018; triple-camera penetration to rise, but adoption limited this year ■ Cautious outlook for the tech hardware space near term, expect share price volatilities Near term uncertainties remain We hosted an investor tour on 31 Oct visiting tech companies and industry experts in Shenzhen, including Tianma (000050 CH), TCL Group (000100 CH), O-film (002456 CH), and Huawei. Investors are still concerned for the tech hardware sector given demand uncertainties and intense competition. Companies we visited see limited near term impact from China-US trade frictions, but a prolonged conflict could hurt consumer end demand. Triple-camera penetration will continue to rise as it helps product differentiation. Demand for in-display fingerprint outgrows that of 3D sensing, as 3D sensing has limited applications so far. 5G could be the next major driver for smartphone replacement. Challenges to persist for component suppliers We continue to expect challenges for handset component suppliers in 4Q18. Companies we visited have yet to see meaningful changes in their order volumes, but our supply chain checks suggest weaker demand from most Chinese handset brands other than Huawei. We expect ASP/margin pressure to continue for Sunny Optical through 2H18. Triple-camera could become a key growth driver (20% HCM revenue in 2019 vs. 5% in 2018, by our estimates), but its adoption remains limited this year. We expect a challenging 2H18 for AAC, given the disappointing iPhone volume (46.9mn in Sep, vs. consensus of 48.4mn), as well as uncertain outlook for its optics business. Cautious outlook for tech hardware The tech hardware sector underperformed this year, given increasing demand uncertainties. Shares of Sunny Optical (2382 HK, BUY) and AAC (2018 HK, BUY) fell respectively by 26% and 54% YTD (vs. HSI 13%). Both companies are now trading below historical average levels, with favorable long-term risk/reward. Nonetheless, we advise investors to remain cautious in near term, as share price will likely remain volatile. We prefer leading handset component providers to smaller suppliers, given the leading market share and balance sheet strength.

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