Mon, Dec 01, 2008 - Page 12 News List

Nexgen predicts sales growth

TARGET: The panel maker expects promotions at IT Month will help it attain sales of 130,000 units and hopes the momentum will continue into next year

By Lisa Wang and Jerry Lin  /  STAFF REPORER

Visitors fill Exhibition Hall 1 at the Taipei World Trade Center on the opening day of IT Month on Saturday. The annual event, organized by the Taipei Computer Association, runs until Sunday.

PHOTO: HU SHUN-HSIANG, TAIPEI TIMES

Nexgen Mediatech Inc (新世代), a flat-panel TV subsidiary of Chi Mei Corp (奇美), said unit sales should grow 25 percent this year, buckling an industry downturn as customers tighten their belts.

During the first 11 months of this year, Nexgen sold 115,000 liquid-crystal-display (LCD) TVs, the company said in a statement on Saturday.

“Sales of Chi Mei-brand TVs are growing in Taiwan, despite the macroeconomic slowdown,” Cheng Liang-pin (鄭良彬), a vice president of Nexgen, said in the statement.

Nexgen, which sells LCD TVs and PC monitors under the Chi Mei brand, was the second-largest LCD TV vendor in Taiwan, trailing household name Tatung Co (大同). Chi Mei Corp also owns the nation’s second-biggest flat-panel maker, Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp (奇美電子).

Most LCD TV vendors, including Samsung Electronics Co, have lowered their outlook for the nation’s LCD TV sales to between 800,000 and 850,000 units this year, compared with 1 million units estimated earlier this year, saying economic turbulence had diminished consumers’ replacement rate for bulky cathode-ray-tube (CRT) TV sets.

“With help from the latest promotion campaign during the annual IT Month period, we will hit the target of 130,000 units this year,” Cheng said.

Cheng expects the momentum to extend into next year, which would bring another 15 percent annual growth to 150,000 units.

New LCD TVs with faster response times and higher resolution — the so-called 120Hz TVs — are expected to be the main driving force next year, Cheng said.

LCD TVs outfitted with a 120Hz screen may account for 24 percent of overall 37-inch LCD TVs globally this year, up from 7.5 percent last year, market researcher DisplaySearch said.

The penetration rate could grow to 34 percent next year and increase to 43 percent in 2012, the Austin, Texas-based researcher said.

Nexgen is offering 32-inch LCD TVs at less than NT$20,000 (US$600) per unit for visitors to IT Month show. The company is scheduled to launch the first 42-inch 120Hz LCD TV in the first quarter of next year.

At the annual trade event, which opened on Saturday and runs through Sunday at Taipei World Trade Center Exhibition Hall 1 and 3, Sony Corp and Samsung Electronics have cut prices for LCD TVs by as much as NT$5,000 per unit to compete with local TV brands.

On Saturday, more than 75,000 visitors attended the trade event, looking for bargains amid a slowing economy and a weakening purchasing power, event organizer Taipei Computer Association (TCA, 台北市電腦公會) said.

A visitor surnamed Wu, 26, who was looking to buy a laptop computer to meet his graphic design needs, said he had cut back on his budget from between NT$40,000 and NT$50,000 initially to NT$30,000.

He said there were fewer visitors than he expected, adding attendance was probably down 40 percent from past shows.

Acer Inc (宏碁) chairman Wang Jeng-tang (王振堂), who is also head of TCA, said at an opening ceremony that IT Month would attract a total of 2 million visitors this year, with a total revenue of NT$10 billion.

To boost company sales, Acer, the world’s third-largest PC maker, invited New York Yankees pitcher Wang Chien-ming (王建民) on Saturday to meet and take photos with the first 50 customers.

Lenovo Group Ltd (聯想) invited the first 30 customers every day to bring in their old laptops running on Intel Centrino processors — regardless of brand — to be exchanged for a new laptop, with a NT$10,000 discount.

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