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Taiwan takes large-sized LCD lead

The LCD industry in Taiwan has recently starting to flex its muscle, grabbing market shares from Korea to push Taiwan as a whole into the number one spot for LCD panel production.

According to display market research firm DisplaySearch, Taiwan’s large-sized TFT-LCD panel shipments in the second quarter of 2005 took 45 percent of the market, surpassing South Korea as the largest producer of LCD panels.

The Color Imaging Industry Promotion Office (CIPO) of Taiwan forecasts that the large-sized TFT-LCD industry will grow by 31 percent in 2005 to a production value of USD 176 billion. In total, CIPO predicts Taiwan’s flat panel industry will generate production value of USD 214 billion in 2005.

LCD TVs drive growth
One of the surprising factors driving growth of large-sized TFT-LCD panels has been the market for consumer television. Large-sized LCD panels refer to panels measuring larger than 10-inches on the diagonal.

According to Paul Semenza, a researcher for leading technology market research firm iSuppli, “Consumer television has become the new killer application for flat-panel displays.”

In 2004, panel prices severely dropped, resulting in lowered TV prices for consumers. Semenza indicated in the firm’s On Display FPD magazine that this price dropping, coupled with a transition to Digital TV (DTV) in many countries, is forcing many changes to the consumer TV market.

Semenza stated that numerous companies and brands are looking to take advantage of an increased consumer willingness to purchase LCD TVs.

Desktop display replacements
According to DisplaySearch, shipments of desktop monitors were once again on the rise, growing 4 percent quarter-on-quarter and 36 percent year-on-year for 2Q05.

The Quarterly Desktop Monitor Shipment and Forecast Report from DisplaySearch showed that LCD monitors accounted for 65 percent of all desktop displays shipped in the second quarter.

Taiwan has benefited greatly from this, as the country accounted for 61.4 percent of all LCD monitors in the first quarter of 2005, according to DigiTimes Research.

Statistics from Taiwan research organization Industrial Economics and Knowledge Center (IEK) showed that manufacturing of large-sized TFT-LCD panels generated a total output value of USD 4.06 billion during the second quarter of 2005, for 5.7 percent quarter-on-quarter growth.

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Advancing optoelectronics
Taiwan’s largest LCD panel manufacturer, AU Optronics (AUO), stated a new manufacturing facility (fab) and new technologies will help push the company to become a major player in the consumer LCD TV industry.

According to Po-Yen Lu, executive vice-president and general manager of the audio video display business group, AUO plans to move equipment into its newest G7.5 fab in the second quarter of 2006, with production to begin in the fourth quarter.

Lu stated that the G7.5 fab would manufacture glass substrates — the glass used in LCD panels — at a size of 1,950mm x 2,250mm.

This will allow the company to effectively produce eight 42-inch TFT-LCD panels, six 47-inch TFT-LCD panels, or three 56-inch TFT-LCD panels per substrate.

Lu said capacity would be set at 30,000 substrates per month, increasing AUO’s presence in the LCD TV market. Additionally, Lu stated that the company could build a mirror-image plant next to the G7.5 fab, doubling capacity.

LEDs to power LCDs
Lu also stated that new technologies would help keep the company competitive in the years ahead. Specifically, Lu said the company was investing 3 percent of revenues in research on light emitting diodes (LEDs).

According to Lu, AUO is already shipping small-sized LCD modules with LED backlights. Lu indicated that the LED backlights doubled the efficiency of the LCD panels.

Lu acknowledged that the technology would take time to mature, but mentioned that other Taiwan entities, most notably the Industrial Technology Research Institute, Taiwan’s premier research organization, had developed a low-cost LED backlight, which could be applied to high-end flat panel displays by 2006.

As Taiwan manufacturers lower manufacturing costs, open new fabs, and lead breakthroughs in technology, the island will maintain its leadership position in the LCD industry.

Please visit www.taiwantrade.com.tw or www.taiwaninnovalue.com for more information.

AU Optronics
www.auo.com.tw
+886 3 500 8899

Color Imaging Industry Promotion Office
Industrial Development Bureau, Ministry of Economic Affairs
www.display.org.tw
+886 2 2543 2268

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