Fri, Aug 18, 2006 - Page 12 News List

Local firms look to tap auto electronics

By Jason Tan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The booming global automotive electronics market has prompted aggressive moves from carmakers such as Yulon Motor Co (裕隆汽車) and electronics heavyweights including Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密).

Yulon Motor, which assembles and sells cars for Nissan Motor Co, is in discussions to set up a venture with a partner in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in a bid to get a foothold in the emerging Middle East market, industry sources said yesterday.

"During the April auto electronics trade show held in Taipei, a Dubai vendor was impressed with our TOBE solution, and we will work on bringing it to the country," said Liu Yi-cheng (劉一震), president of Hua-chuang Automobile Information Technical Center (華創車電).

Transmitting data via Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) telecommunications technology, TOBE is a telemetric platform offering anti-theft, call center service and information such as weather forecasts.

Liu made the remark yesterday at the opening ceremony for CarTronics Taipei 2006, an auto electronics exposition held at the Taipei World Trade Center. The expo runs through Sunday and entry is free of charge.

A special assistant to Yulon Group (裕隆集團) chairman Kenneth Yan (嚴凱泰), Liu didn't say when a deal with its Dubai partner would be finalized and declined to elaborate. But a market watcher welcomed the news.

"Dubai has a high standard of living and good purchasing power, and people there are keen on adopting new technologies," said Allen Cheng (鄭偉良), a researcher with Topology Research Institute (拓墣產業研究所).

He said that booming markets such as the Middle East, Thailand and India offered an attractive alternative to the larger markets in Japan, Europe, the US and China.

Yulon Motor's TOBE will serve as a starting point from which both parties could increase cooperation in the future, Cheng said.

Another affiliate of the Yulon Group, China Motor Corp (中華汽車) has already achieved good results in the Middle East and elsewhere.

China Motor has exported commercial trucks to the Americas, Southeast Asia, Africa, and recently Saudi Arabia and Syria in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, Hon Hai, the nation's largest electronics maker, was reportedly planning to enter into a partnership with Asia's largest carmaker, Toyota Motor Corp.

Hon Hai has three auto electronics plants and one auto component plant in China, the United Daily News reported yesteday.

Regarding this report, Topology's Cheng said local automakers were trying to

reduce technical dependence on their partners — major Japanese and US

makers — and thus were more likely to work with specialized electronics

firms to tap into the auto electronics market.

According to Boston-based consulting firm Strategy Analytics, the global

auto electronics market is poised to grow to US$163.46 billion in 2008, from

US$134.13 billion last year.

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