Touch-panel maker TPK Holding Co Ltd (宸鴻) on Saturday broke ground on its first chemical glass strengthener factory in central Taiwan as part of a new joint venture with its touch-sensor manufacturing subsidiary Cando Corp (達鴻先進).
The factory project is part of TPK’s increased efforts to accelerate touch-panel capacity expansion.
TPK has said that it was unable to meet customer demand for touch screens, especially larger panels used in tablets and PCs after Microsoft Corp launched the Windows 8 system, which features touchscreen capability.
TPK aims to further integrate its production capabilities into the supply chain and to increase its share of the touchscreen market, company chairman Michael Chiang (江朝瑞) told Unique Satellite TV (非凡電視) on Saturday.
Giving the growth in demand for touch panel screens, “we believe this year will at least be a better year than last year [in terms of revenue and profit],” Chiang told a media briefing after the ceremony.
TPK, which counts Apple Inc as its biggest client, is targeting to expand its customer base to 50, from 40 last year.
US Market researcher NPD DisplaySearch forecast that about 13 percent of notebook computers shipped globally this year would be fitted with touchscreens and the ratio could grow to 57 percent by 2017.
Last year, the penetration rate of touchscreens in laptop computers was only 2.5 percent, the researcher said.
Growing demand from notebook computers makers could help boost TPK’s revenue contribution from touchscreens for laptops to 20 percent this year from about 3 percent last year, Chiang told reporters.
TPK posted record-breaking revenue of NT$173.66 billion (US$5.85 billion) and record-high net profits of NT$13.82 billion, or NT$42.24 per share, for last year.
This year, TPK plans to double its capital spending to NT$30 billion in order to expand capacity to meet customer demand.
The firm expects the NT$15 billion chemical strengthener factory to ramp up its production by August at the earliest. Chemical strengtheners are key component used in touch panels.
The factory could generate NT$4.5 billion and create 300 new jobs, the firm said.
TPK is also seeking to lease land from the government for a research and development center for its subsidiary Cando, in which TPK holds a 55 percent share, Chiang said.