Compal makes a touch-panel foray

By Jason Tan  /  Staff Reporter

Thu, Dec 30, 2010 - Page 12

Beefing up its competitiveness in the tablet PC chase, Compal Electronics Inc (仁寶電腦), the world’s second-largest portable PC contract maker by revenue, yesterday said it would invest NT$2 billion (US$68 million) in subsidiary Henghao Technology Co (恆顥科技).

“The ‘media pad’ demand will report strong growth in the coming years. Investing in touch panel production can shorten such product design cycles and enhance product competitiveness,” Compal said in a statement.

The total investment amount to Henghao will be NT$2 billion through installments, it said.

Of that, NT$1.4 billion is earmarked for the purchase of a so-called 4.5-generation color-filter facility and related equipment from Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd (中華映管).

Henghao is Compal’s new wholly-owned subsidiary that was set up this month to engage in the glass-type projected capacitive touch-panel business.

Henghao’s production lines are expected to begin mass production by the second quarter next year at the earliest.

Compal said the initial output would be 70,000 sheets per month, which will be supplied mainly to Compal.

In addition to the touch panel foray, Compal and Sitronix Technology Co (矽創電子) will establish a joint venture to design touch controller ICs specifically for use in tablets, the Chinese-language DigiTimes reported early this month.

Compal will invest more than NT$40 million for a stake of less than 50 percent in the venture. Sitronix, a developer of touch controller ICs for handsets, will be the main operating entity, Compal spokesman Gary Lu (呂清雄) was quoted as saying.

The investment comes in the wake of tablets’ global market potential, which is expected to take off next year, Lu said.

Among Taiwanese notebook contract manufacturers, Compal has led in developing touch controller solutions and has been cooperating with several PC brands, including Acer Inc (宏碁), Toshiba Corp and Dell Inc, to develop tablet PCs, DigiTimes said.