Sat, Jul 17, 2004 - Page 10 News List

HannStar mulls a 7G fab

FLAT-PANEL BOOM The display-maker is looking for land in science parks in both the north and the south to build a new plant

By Amber Chung  /  STAFF REPORTER

HannStar Display Corp (瀚宇彩晶), a leading maker of flat-panel displays for computers and TVs, may initiate its layout for seventh generation (7G) fabrication plants early next year, it said yesterday.

"The plan is made with an eye for long-term development," Hann-Star president Wu Tai-kang (吳大剛) said in a phone interview.

Since the larger flat panels manufactured by the next-generation plants are not transitional products, there is not a problem with over-investment, he said.

The company's layout for the 7G fabs may not be inaugurated until after next March at the earliest, when it is scheduled to move facilities in its 6G plant, Wu said. However, he declined to reveal more details.

Wu made the remarks in response to a report in the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times' sister paper) yesterday that HannStar had asked for help from the Hsinchu Science Park Administration in finding sites to build two 7G fabs in the north of the country.

"We are surveying sites in both the north and the south of Taiwan," Wu said.

The Southern Taiwan Science Park Administration in Tainan has reserved a lot measuring more than 30 hectares next to HannStar's 6G fab for future expansion, Wu said.

He said the company has not ruled out the possibility of erecting next-generation plants in both the south and the north.

HannStar began construction of its 6G fab in the Southern Taiwan Science Park in March. The fab is expected to start mass production of 32-inch and 37-inch panels in September next year, with a monthly shipment of 60,000 pieces.

Randy Yen (顏宗明), Hsinchu Science Park Administration deputy director-general, confirmed that HannStar asked one month ago for 50 hectares to 60 hectares of land for expansion.

The industrial parks in both Hsinchu and Chunan are already crowded, Yen said, while a planned park in Tongluo, Miaoli County, will have stricter environmental standards and lacks sufficient water resources for panel fabs, he said.

The agency has not found any proper land so far, Yen added.

The nation's fast developing flat-panel industry generated an output value of NT$280.8 billion in the first half of this year, a leap of 117 percent from a year ago, according to figures released on Wednesday by Industrial Technology Intelligence Services (ITIS) under the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

The huge increase was driven by the substantial production growth of the large-sized thin-film transistor sector after seven 5G production lines started mass production over the same period, ITIS said.

The supply of panels would become increasingly loose in the traditional high season in the next half of this year, ITIS said, and panel prices may become softer if the market for liquid-crystal-display television is not as hot as expected.

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