Taiwan’s digital camera manufacturers are trying to enter new markets to make up for falling sales caused by the growing popularity of smartphones and tablets equipped with camera functions, market analysts said on Saturday.
Hoping to capitalize on their existing optics technology, digital camera suppliers are extending their reach to new product lines, such as gaming consoles, laser televisions, medical devices, face recognition technology and camera lenses for industrial automation, the analysts said.
Some digital camera makers are also upgrading their technology and getting involved in areas like ultra-pixel lens development, or developing value-added devices such as products that have Internet communications functions, they said.
Global shipments of digital cameras are expected to fall 20 percent from a year earlier to 70 million units this year, as smartphone sales rise.
That would be a 5 percent steeper decline than the 15 percent recorded last year, when digital camera shipments fell below 100 million units.
By contrast, smartphone shipments for this year are expected to rise 32.7 percent from a year earlier to 958.8 million units, according to researcher International Data Corp.
The diminishing digital camera market has particularly hurt companies such as Ability Enterprise Co (佳能), Altek Corp (華晶科), Asia Optical Co (亞光) and Premier Technology Co (普立爾), which specialize in manufacturing digital cameras for consumer use, forcing them to find alternative sources of revenue, analysts said.
Ability has responded by entering a niche market: high-end and ultra-thin camera modules used in digital cameras, smartphones, tablet computers, security control systems and cars.
It has also begun to produce sporty cameras that are waterproof, shockproof and dustproof to strengthen its competitive edge. In addition, it has also enabled some of its camera products to have Internet communications capabilities to broaden consumer appeal.
Altek said it has extended its reach beyond digital camera production since 2006 to manufacture optical devices to be used in cars, medical equipment, face recognition devices and surveillance monitors.
The company said it expected its non-digital camera business to account for 30 percent of sales this year, up from 15 percent last year, to make up for the shrinking digital camera market.
Asia Optical said it has launched a 50X zoom camera model that has received orders from US and European distributors such as Wal-mart Stores Inc and Argos Ltd.
Like Altek, it has also supplemented its digital camera production with other product lines, including gaming consoles, laser TVs and family theater products.
Dutch brewing company Heineken NV yesterday said that it has reached an agreement to acquire a subsidiary brewery of Taiwan’s Sanyo Whisbih Group (三洋維士比集團). Heineken is to assume majority ownership and management rights of the Long Chuan Zuan Co (龍泉鑽興業) brewery in Pingtung County’s Neipu Township (內埔), the Dutch company said. It would become the first multinational brewing company to operate brewery in Taiwan once the acquisition is completed. The deal has been approved by the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Investment Commission, but details of the financial transaction cannot be disclosed at this time, as terms of the settlement have not been completed,
LOOK WHO OWES: China’s exposure to Taiwanese banks was the second-largest, with Luxembourg third, followed by Hong Kong and Japan, the central bank said The US remained the largest debtor country to Taiwan’s banking sector for a 27th consecutive quarter in the first quarter of this year, with its exposure rising 8.3 percent from a quarter earlier on the back of an increase in US bonds, the central bank said on Friday. Data compiled by the central bank showed that outstanding international claims by Taiwanese banks on a direct risk basis to the US stood at US$125.38 billion as of the end of March. Department of Financial Inspection deputy head Pan Ya-hui (潘雅慧) said that the US Federal Reserve’s launch of a rate hike cycle in
GREEN CITY: The company is set to invest US$8 billion to make electric vehicles and batteries for a new city that would rely entirely on renewable energy sources Indonesia said that Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) is considering investing in the country’s new capital city, a move that would bolster the US$34 billion construction project. Hon Hai, which is known as Foxconn Technology Group (富士康科技集團), is looking at setting up an electric bus system and an Internet of Things network at Nusantara, as Indonesia’s new capital is to be called, Indonesian Minister of Investment Bahlil Lahadalia said in a statement yesterday. Hon Hai chairman Young Liu (劉揚偉) met with Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Saturday to discuss the company’s plan to invest US$8 billion to build a manufacturing plant
WHOLLY OWNED SUBSIDIARY: Costco Wholesale said it expected the purchase of the remaining 45 percent stake to add 1 to 1.5 percent to its earnings per share US-based Costco Wholesale Corp on Thursday said that it had purchased the remaining 45 percent stake in Costco President Taiwan Inc (台灣好市多) for US$1.05 billion, making the local company a fully-owned unit. “We estimate that the purchase would add about 1 to 1.5 percent to [our] earnings per share,” Costco said in a statement. Costco President Taiwan was established as a joint venture with Kaohsiung-based President Group (大統集團), which held a 45 percent stake. Since the first Costco store opened in Kaohsiung in 1997, 14 outlets have been set up in Taiwan, company data showed. PROFITABLE Three Costco stores in Taiwan — in Taipei’s Neihu