Mon, Jul 30, 2007 - Page 12 News List

Local digital camera makers to increase global market share

By Jason Tan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Thanks to increasing orders from Japanese digital camera makers such as Sony Corp, Taiwanese contract digital camera makers are set to make a bigger place for themselves in the global production chain.

Taiwanese companies will produce more than 50 million cameras by the end of this year, a growth of 25 percent from last year, a report by Market Intelligence Center (MIC, 資訊市場情報中心) said.

The global market share of Taiwanese camera makers is expected to increase to more than 45 percent this year, up from last year's 40 percent, the Taipei-based market researcher said in a report released last week.

"More orders -- especially from Japanese brands -- will pour into Taiwan, as they [brands] are facing growing pressure to cut prices and pursue higher product specifications," MIC analyst Chris Hung (洪春暉) said.

Riding on this uptrend, local makers would gain over half of the world's production next year by producing 60 millions units, Hung said.

Japanese brands Canon and Panasonic, however, would not be local firms' customers in the near term, Hung said.

For the moment, these two companies insist on making cameras domestically rather than farming out production, Hung said.

Hung warned that local companies could face a threat from Singapore-based Flextronics International Ltd after it made the acquisition, in August last year, of Eastman Kodak Co, a Chinese plant supported by a Japanese research team, for US$35 million.

In a bid to gain a share of the growing digital camera market, Asustek Computer Inc (華碩電腦) -- the world's largest motherboard maker -- last Tuesday bought a 13 percent share of the nation's third-biggest camera maker, Ability Enterprise Co (佳能企業), via a share swap.

"Asustek is following in the footsteps of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密), [which acquired top camera maker Premier Image Technology Corp (普立爾) last year] and Flextronics to enter the optical/imaging business," investment research CLSA Ltd said in a research note last week.

This would give Asustek the option, in the long-term, to get involved in the imaging sector, including projectors and printers, it said.

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