Tue, Mar 16, 2004 - Page 10 News List

Electronics makers chomping at the bit

By Lisa Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Domestic electronics makers are set to showcase their latest gadgets in the annual Cebit show in Hanover, Germany, this year, saying Europe is becoming an important area for sales growth.

BenQ Corp (明基電通), Taiwan's No.1 mobile-phone maker, is scheduled to debut its smartphones, which support faster third-generation (3G) services, and new camera phones along with other consumer electronics such as liquid-crystal-display (LCD) televisions and MP3 players.

BenQ chairman Lee Kun-yao (李焜耀) said early this month that his company is scheduled to pitch its first 3G model in the European market early next year through collaboration with an unspecified European telecom operator.

"Europe is also a very important market because consumers there take lifestyle more seriously, in addition to fast-growing markets in China and India," Lee said.

Some 24 percent of BenQ's NT$36.83 billion in sales came from Europe during the October-December period last year, up from 20 percent in the previous quarter, according to the company.

Taiwan has the greatest representation of any foreign nation at Cebit 2004, with 709 Taiwanese electronics manufacturers showcasing their products, up from 664 companies last year, according to Hanover Pacific Corp, which repre-sents Cebit organizers Deutsche Messe AG in Taiwan.

A total of 6,411 high-tech companies will attend Cebit, the world's biggest information technology fair, which is scheduled to run from Thursday to March 24.

Teco Group, one of Taiwan's biggest television makers, will also showcase its full lineup of LCD TVs, aiming to extend its market to Europe, where high-end LCD TVs are getting higher penetration than other areas in the world, Frank Wu (吳宏廷), a Teco executive, said in a phone interview.

"We have set a sales target of 100,000 sets," Wu said.

He declined to elaborate but said the potential customers will be European companies.

During the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January, Teco garnered manufacturing orders from a US retailer to supply 200,000 small-sized LCD TVs in the first half of this year.

Eyeing the European LCD TV market, Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp (CMO, 奇美電子), Taiwan's biggest maker of flat panels for TVs, plans to showcase different sizes of products ranging from 20.1-inch to 47-inch panels, the company said in a statement released yesterday.

"Impressed by the development of the LCD TV market in Europe, CMO is making its debut at Cebit this year. ... We hope that the display will familiarize our potential European customers with the latest developments in CMO's LCD TV panel products," said Hsu Chun-hwa (許春華), vice president of Chi Mei, in the statement.

Tatung Co (大同), a household name for TVs in Taiwan, will also launch its line of LCD TVs, plasma-panel-display TVs and LCD monitors at the show.

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