TPK Holding Co Ltd (宸鴻) yesterday said it had signed an agreement with Japan’s Nissha Printing Co Ltd to form a strategic partnership in an effort to accelerate its entry into the mid-range touch-panel market.
TPK’s announcement came as it is facing mounting pressure from industry changes as demand shifts to medium-range and low-cost smartphones and tablets from high-end models, and competition intensifies.
TPK counts Apple Inc as its top touch panel client.
Nissha Printing will invest US$6.25 million for a 25 percent stake in TPK’s touch-panel subsidiary, TPK Film Solutions Ltd, which is developing next-generation silver nanowire technology to make low-cost touch screens for smartphones and tablets.
TPK will hold a 65 percent stake in TPK Film after injects NT$4 million (US$135,400) in new capital into the subsidiary, while Sunnyvale, California-based Cambrios Technologies Corp will own 10 percent.
“TPK has been focusing on developing high-end glass touch panels, this partnership with Nissha Printing will help us broaden our product portfolio and tap into middle-range film touch panel area,” chief financial executive Freddie Liu (劉詩亮) told a teleconference.
“The new 5-inch, or 6-inch silver nanowire touch screens will be very [cost] competitive,” Liu sad.
The new nano silverwire technology will help clients lower their costs by 10 percent to 20 percent if they switch to the new touch screens from existing ITO glass touch panels, TPK said.
Liu said the new touch panels will help it secure more orders from China without scarifying gross margin. Gross margin for silver nanowire touch panels will approach to TPK’s corporate average figure.
Last year, TPK’s gross margin stood at 17.05 percent.
TPK chief executive David Sun (孫大明) said in August that the company was facing a new challenge resulting from the proliferation of low-cost mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.
The company, aiming to recoup lost market share of handset touch screens, has been concentrating on developing low-cost one-glass-solution touch panels for notebook computers, but demand for touch-enabled laptops fell short of expectation.
TPK Film will ramp up production of silver nanowire touch panels in the second quarter next year, with a monthly capacity of 2 million units of 6-inch silver nanowire touch panels.