Largan Precision Co (大立光), the world’s No. 1 camera lens manufacturer, yesterday said its new plant in Taichung would begin production in the fourth quarter to meet an anticipated spike in demand during the high-sales season for the smartphone industry.
“The new plant is to start trial production at the end of next quarter and we plan to hire 4,500 machinery operators to run it,” Largan chief executive officer Adam Lin (林恩平) told a news conference after the firm’s annual general meeting at its headquarters in Taichung.
That would bring Largan’s number of employees in Taiwan to 8,500, Lin said.
Largan in 2014 acquired a 5.4-hectare plot next to its headquarters for the plant.
Investment in the plant, including construction costs and equipment purchases, has reached more than NT$20 billion (US$661.59 million), Largan said.
The new facility will be Largan’s largest plant and its first to centralize equipment for different manufacturing stages of the camera lens production process, which would substantially increase production efficiency, Lin said.
Lin said he is aware of the fast-growing competition from Japanese and Chinese peers, and the only way Largan can maintain its competitiveness is by developing newer technologies that allow good yield and large production capacity.
Largan is also aiming to build a strong portfolio of patents to ward off competition from competitors and retain its No. 1 spot, he said.
For instance, Largan has developed a camera lens with seven pieces of plastics that enables better control of light, Lin said, adding that the firm has sent samples of the new product to its clients.
The company expects its performance in the second half to be better that of the first half, supported by clients’ launches of new smartphones, Lin said.
In addition, Largan is entering the healthcare industry and expects to launch an electrocardiogram (ECG) device for sleep analysis in Taiwan next year, Lin said.
Largan this year invested NT$300 million in Largan Health Technology Corp (LHT, 大立雲康), taking a 40 percent stake, he said.
Lin said the core technologies for the ECG device were developed by a high-school classmate, Harvard Medical School associate professor of Medicine CK Peng (彭仲康), while Largan designed the chips and manufactures the product in Taiwan.
LHT’s ECG device can be used to replace multiple patches on patients to collect accurate ECG data for doctors, Lin said.
“We believe the product has market potential, as research has shown that seven out of 100 people suffer from sleep apnea,” Lin said.
The US and Chinese food and drug administrations have certified the device, Lin said, adding that it is pending approval from Taiwanese authorities.
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