Tue, Apr 13, 2004 - Page 10 News List

Haier to outsource from Taiwanese companies

By Lisa Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Haier Group (海爾), China's biggest television manufacturer, plans to source flat-display TV sets from Taiwanese companies as part of its attempt to sell the brand out of the home market, a company official said yesterday.

"Haier is working on the plan and hopes to see some progress this year. Now we're seeking local suppliers to help us tap into the US and European markets," Chang Cheng-tsung (張澄聰), an executive of Haier Taiwan Inc (海崴創新) told the Taipei Times.

Haier wants domestic TV makers to supply about 300,000 to 500,000 liquid-crystal-display (LCD) television sets this year, Chang said. He declined to elaborate.

As the government forbids Chinese companies from investing in the nation, the Chinese electronics vendor has tried to keep a low profile and shun the media.

"It is not a mission that Haier can to do alone, though we have our production line," Chang said.

The proposed outsourcing deal is expected to be a boon to domestic TV manufacturers, an analyst at Taipei-based market researcher Topology Research Institute (拓墣產業研究所) said.

"Compared to Taiwan's total LCD TV shipments, the planned Haier outsourcing will account for one-eighth of the total LCD TV shipments this year," said Ken Ko (柯維華) at Topology.

Domestic companies are expected to ship a total of 2.4 million LCD TVs this year, according to the Topology forecast.

With strong manufacturing capabilities but weakness in developing brand-name products, Taiwanese companies can play a supplementary role for Haier, another analyst said.

Starting as a major supplier of refrigerators and air conditioners, Haier has worked with Taiwanese companies, which have good flat-screen TV manufacturing capabilities, to get a share of the fast-growing TV market, said Helen Chen (陳佩君), an analyst with Polaris Securities Co (寶來證券).

"It's the most effective way for Haier, which is trying hard to keep pace with the rapidly changing TV market," she said.

"And Sampo Corp (聲寶) has high hopes of winning more TV orders, as the Taiwanese brand has been developing closer ties with Haier in plasma-display-panel (PDP) sets and electronics compression areas," Chen added.

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