Photonics fair kicks off

By Chiu Yu-tzu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Thu, Jul 24, 2003 - Page 10

The output value of Taiwan's optoelectronics industry next year is expected to grow by as much as 20 percent, to break through NT$600 billion, a National Science Council (NSC) official said yesterday.

"The promotion of photonics technologies is an essential part of the government's focus on developing essential industries with high additional values," said NSC vice chairman Liao Chun-chen (廖俊臣) at the opening ceremony of the four-day Taipei Photonic Week exhibition.

The fair, co-organized by the Photonics Industry & Technology Development Association and the council, kicked off yesterday at the Taipei World Trade Center Exhibition Hall.

It features themed exhibitions of Opto Taiwan (國際光電大展), Display Taiwan (光電顯示器展), and Optocom Taiwan (光通訊頻寬展), with an aim to review the industry's development in the last two decades.

According to the council's Electro-Optics Unit, which was established in 1983 to develop coordinated policies for Taiwan's optoelectronics industry, the industry's production value has increased significantly from NT$8.3 billion in 1985 to NT$493.8 billion last year.

Liao said that existing policies were designed to be responsive to an era characterized by globalization and knowledge-based economies.

Under the government's guidance, for instance, light-emitting diodes (LEDs), photonic devices, cameras and scanners were major products before 1995.

The industry then shifted its focus to the production of photonic storage devices, including CD-ROM drives and disks between 1995 and 1999, which was the second stage of growth for the industry.

But it wasn't until 1999 that mass production of thin-film transistor liquid crystal displays (TFT-LCD) triggered the third wave of growth for the industry.

Taiwan remains one of top three leading manufacturers of LEDs, contact image sensors, scanners, and other products, according to the Electro-Optics Unit.

Officials said that the production of displays would remain one of key economic lifelines for Taiwan in the following years.

The cabinet's "two trillion, twin-star" (兩兆雙星) project aims to increase the production value of the semiconductor and color display sectors to NT$1 trillion (US$28.49 billion) each in 2006.

To gain better understanding of the latest developments in the industry, the fair demonstrates new products, such as displays and communication devices presented by more than 300 firms at 600 booths.

In addition, it also features several workshops on market trends, which will be chaired by leading research institutes and organizations, including the Acad-emia Sinica and US-based International Society for Optical Engineering, and the Japan-based Optoelectronic Industry and Technology Development Association.

Consumers are encouraged to browse at the exhibition, because the most advanced products, such as digital cameras, CD-ROM drivers, optics lenses and LEDs are available, NSC officials said.

The event, free of charge, is open to the public each day from 9am to 5pm and runs from yesterday until Sautrday.