Fri, Mar 17, 2006 - Page 12 News List

Record flat-panel revenues forecast

By Lisa Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Revenues for the flat-panel display industry are expected to grow at a faster-than-expected pace to over NT$1 trillion (US$30.82 billion) this year, fueled by robust consumer electronics demand, primarily for slim-screen televisions, a local research house said in a report issued yesterday.

Until recently, sales of liquid-crystal-display (LCD) panels were driven by demand for personal computers, but things are changing as flat-panels are used in an increasingly diverse range of products.

"This year, consumer electronic devices such as LCD TVs and mobile phones will be the major drivers," said Jim Chung (鍾俊元), an analyst with the government-funded Industrial Economics and Knowledge Center (IEK, 產業經濟與趨勢研究中心).

The Hsinchu-based research center projected sales of LCD TVs would skyrocket to 42 million sets this year, from 19 million units last year, on falling prices.

Chung said that the huge growth in sales of flat-panel TVs would be a boon for makers of flat-panels and related components. Flat-panel display industry revenues would grow by around 37 percent to NT$1.33 trillion this year, from NT$972 billion last year, he said.

The revised forecast represents an increase of around 23 percent over IEK's previous estimate of NT$1.08 trillion.

"South Korean LCD-panel-makers are sourcing key components from local companies such as Radiant Optoelectronics Corp (瑞儀光電) for the first time to cope with computer demand in the Chinese market," Chung said.

The revised estimate also accounts for the additional US$1 billion in revenues secured by local flat-panel manufacturer Toppoly Optoelectronics Corp's (統寶光電) takeover of Royal Philips Electronics NV's mobile display unit last November.

It is also worth noting that since Formosa Plasma Display Corp (台塑光電) closed its doors and Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd (中華映管) shuttered its plasma-display-panel (PDP) division last year, there are now no local manufacturers in the PDP sector, the researcher said.

Chung advised local flat-panel manufacturers to end the technology race and cease building increasingly advanced factories such as AU Optronics Corp's (友達光電) eighth-generation plants.

The current 7.5G and 6G plants would be sufficient to enable manufacturers

to benefit from booming LCD TV growth as they would be able to produce the

most popular sizes, ranging between 32-inches and 42-inches, at an optimal

cost, Chung said.

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