Thu, Jul 15, 2004 - Page 10 News List

Taiwan forecast to become No. 2 DVD recorder supplier

REUTERS , TAIPEI

Makers of DVD recorders are ramping up production as tumbling prices encourage people to replace ageing tape-based recorders, putting the nation on track to become the second biggest supplier of the products.

Analysts said companies like Lite-On IT Corp (建興電子) and Mustek Systems Inc (鴻友科技) will sell four times as many DVD recorders this year than last after prices halved in the past year.

That will make the country the No. 2 supplier in the US$4.3 billion industry behind Japan, where companies such as Matsushita Electric Industrial Co, maker of Panasonic-branded electronics, Sony Corp and Toshiba Corp control half the global market.

"The industry momentum is strong now and we're also optimistic on next year's demand," said Ting Chien, a spokesman at Lite-On IT, a unit of Lite-On Technology Corp (光寶科技).

The firm, the nation's largest DVD recorder maker and a supplier to US retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc, expects to ship 1 million units this year, up from 100,000 last year. That would help revenue rise by 20 to 25 percent to NT$54.4 billion (US$1.6 billion), the company has said.

Lite-On IT mainly produces optical disk drives for computers and diversified into DVD recorder manufacturing only last year.

The average selling price of a basic DVD recorder is now around US$180 -- still much pricier than a non-recordable DVD player at US$30, but down from US$360 in the middle of last year, according to the Market Intelligence Center (MIC, 市場情報中心), a government-funded think-tank.

"You had to pay more than US$1,000 for a DVD recorder when it was first launched in Japan a couple years ago. Check the price tag now and you will know why it's becoming popular," said Arthur Lai (賴昱彰), a technology analyst at MIC.

Lai expects prices could fall to US$100 in the first half of next year.

Global shipments are estimated to climb to 47.4 million units in 2008 from 12.3 million units this yar. The nation's market share will double to 20 percent this year, overtaking 11 percent for all of Europe, estimated MIC.

Lite-On IT, Mustek and smaller rivals such as Sampo Corp (聲寶) and Protop Innotech Inc (普大興業) are expected to churn out a combined 3 million DVD recorders this year, versus 742,000 last year, MIC said.

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