Fri, Jun 15, 2012 - Page 12 News List

Chunghwa Picture Tubes beefs up touch panel fabs

STIMULATOR:Officials at the panelmaker said the new Windows 8 operating system would drive sales of all-in-one computers that integrate touch panels

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Local LCD panel maker Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd (中華映管) yesterday said it planned to ship a first batch of high-resolution touch panels for all-in-one PCs to a customer in September, an expansion of its touch panel product portfolio from those for smartphones and tablets.

Chunghwa Picture said it would collaborate with local touch solution developer Integrated Digital Technologies Inc (劍揚) to produce 21.5-inch touch panels for PCs, using in-cell technology, a technology that Apple Inc is expected to use for its next-generation iPhone to further shrink the thickness of the device.

“The cooperation with Integrated Digital will help Chunghwa Picture expand its touch panel manufacturing technologies and boost product competitiveness,” company chairman Lin Wei-shan (林蔚山) told a media briefing. “The new technology will inject new life into Chunghwa Picture.”

He said the sale of Microsoft Corp’s new Windows 8 operating system in the fourth quarter would stimulate PC replacement demand and trigger the consumption of touch panels, as the touch feature is the major advance featured in Windows 8.

Global shipments of touch panels are expected to reach 1.4 billion units in 2015, with revenue of US$9 billion, Lin said, citing market researcher DisplaySearch’s forecast.

Integrated Digital’s technology would save between 20 percent and 25 percent on costs for customers over other in-cell touch technologies because of less complicated manufacturing procedures, company vice president Hwang Nae-jye (黃乃傑) said.

Cooperation with Integrated Digital will expand to touch panels for Ultrabooks and smartphones in the future, Chunghwa Picture said.

Chunghwa Picture is supplying clients with 7-inch touch panels now and scheduled to start shipping 10-inch touch panels to customers in August, company president Lin Sheng-chang (林盛昌) told reporters on the sidelines of the press conference.

Lin Sheng-chang said he expects two of the company’s customers will start shipping all-in-one PCs equipped with its touch panels. That means Chunghwa Picture would outpace its local rivals Chimei Innolux Corp (奇美電子) and AU Optronics Corp (友達光電) in providing in-cell touch panels for PCs.

AU Optronics and Chimei Innolux are both developing in-cell touch technologies, but no timetable has been given for product shipment.

The new touch panels for all-in-one PCs would contribute revenue in the fourth quarter of this year. Currently, touch panels account for 20 percent of the company’s revenue, Lin Sheng-chang said.

Chunghwa Picture’s revenue slid 14.2 percent to NT$11.39 billion last quarter, from NT$13.28 billion in the fourth quarter of last year.

Based on the agreement, Integrated Digital will supply Chunghwa Picture with touch controller ICs for the panel maker to integrate it with LCD panels to make a touch panel.

Integrated Digital said it owns 17 touch technology-related patents and has 50 patents under review.

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