Mon, Apr 19, 2010 - Page 12 News List

Prime View to expand in China

IN DEMANDThe maker of electronic paper displays plans to double capacity this year to keep pace with soaring demand. Shipments are expected to triple this year

By Lisa Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Prime View International Co Ltd (元太科技), the world’s biggest supplier of electronic paper displays used in electronic readers like Amazon’s Kindle series, plans to spend US$500 million expanding capacity in China over the next five years to cope with rapidly growing demand.

This could be part of the ­Hsinchu-based flat-panel maker’s broader plan to boost capacity 14-fold within five years.

Prime View plans to assemble electronic paper displays and electronic ink processing in Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province, company chairman Scott Liu (劉思誠) said in a statement on Saturday.

Global shipments of electronic readers are expected to more than triple to 15.21 million units this year from 4.99 million units last year, Market researcher ­DisplaySearch said.

Prime View said Yangzhou would become the company’s major manufacturing base for ­electronic paper displays.

At present, the company assembles electronic paper displays and TFT-LCD panels for portable devices through Transcend Optronics (Yangzhou) Co Ltd (川奇光電), a Chinese subsidiary in Yangzhou.

Earlier this year, Prime View told investors that it intended to spend between US$50 million and US$60 million on new equipment to double capacity this year, compared with NT$500 million (US$15.93 million) last year.

Prime View said nine out of 10 electronic readers on the ­market are using its electronic paper displays made with E Ink Corp’s technology. The company also provides electronic paper displays to Sony Corp and Barnes & Noble Inc, the biggest book seller in the US.

Earlier this year, E Ink merged with Prime View for US$215 million and 120 million shares, a crucial move by the flat-panel maker following its acquisition of electronic ink displays from Philips in 2005.

Last month, Prime View obtained syndicated loans of NT$8 billion and another US$20 million in bank loans.

Prime View lost NT$1.39 billion in the January-to-September period last year, with revenues of NT$11.11 billion.

In a separate press release, Prime View said on Saturday it had signed an agreement with Chinese digital content provider Fanshu.com (方正蕃薯網), a subsidiary of PKU Founder Group (北京方正), allowing Prime View’s customers to access digital content from Fanshu.com.

Fanshu.com is the world’s biggest Chinese digital content provider, with more than 1.8 million Chinese titles.

Yesterday, Prime View said it had signed a contract with Chinese publishing company Phoenix Publishing & Media Network (鳳凰集團) to provide digital content via electronic readers to students.

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