Global demand for liquid-crystal-display (LCD) televisions may double next year from between 20 million and 22 million units this year, said an executive at AU Optronics Corp (友達光電), the world's third-largest maker of flat panels.
"Holiday sales in the US indicate our projection last month may have been too conservative," executive vice president Hsiung Hui (熊暉) said in an interview from Hsinchu.
AU Optronics said at its Oct. 26 investor conference that global demand for LCD TVs will likely surge 75 percent next year to 35 million units from 20 million units this year.
The revised growth forecast for LCD TVs compares with 25 percent growth Hsiung is predicting for desktop and notebook computers next year.
Retail sales in the world's largest economy jumped 22 percent to US$27.8 billion over the Thanksgiving weekend from a year earlier, as shoppers bought electronics, clothing and books, a Nov. 27 report by the National Retail Federation showed. Sales of electronics had the largest jump, the industry group said.
AU Optronics is on schedule to move equipment into its newest 7.5-generation plant in the second quarter next year, and plans to start mass production in the fourth quarter of next year, Hsiung said.
The new plant, which will make LCD TVs measuring at least 40 inches diagonally, will have initial production capacity of 30,000 sheets of glass substrates a month. The firm plans to double this to 60,000 sheets in 2007 to help achieve its goal of becoming one of the world's three largest LCD TV panel makers within two years, Hsiung said.