LED lighting firms eye rosier future

BRIGHT OUTLOOK::Epistar Corp chairman Lee Biing-jye is optimistic that sales of LED lighting products will increase by 30 percent over the next five years

By Helen Ku  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Mar 27, 2013 - Page 13

As the global economy steadily recovers and demand in China increases, sales of LED lighting devices are expected to see double-digit growth this year, companies said yesterday.

“We forecast global demand for LED lighting products will grow significantly this year as the global economy recovers from the downturn,” Lee Biing-jye (李秉傑), chairman of Epistar Corp (晶電), the nation’s biggest LED chipmaker, said yesterday.

Lee forecast LED lighting product shipments would double this year to meet demand in China. However, LED lighting product prices are expected to fall by between 15 percent and 20 percent as more competitors join the market, he added.

“Rising demand will help LED companies buffer price pressures,” Lee said on the sidelines of the opening ceremony for the annual Taiwan International Lighting Show, which runs until Friday at the Taipei World Trade Center.

Lee said he is optimistic that sales of LED lighting products will increase by 30 percent in the next five years, with shipments more than doubling.

This year, he forecast sales of Epistar’s LED lighting products would achieve a double-digit percentage growth rate and sales of direct back-lit LED TVs would grow by about 10 percent.

However, based on the current growth rate of direct back-lit LED TVs, Lee said there is a strong likelihood that the penetration rate would hit the 70 percent mark as soon as 2015.

“In order to prevent sales being dragged down by falling demand for direct back-lit LED TVs after 2015, LED firms will have to do more research and development of LED lighting products and provide diverse bulbs,” Lee said.

Meanwhile, Everlight Electronics Co (億光電子) chairman Robert Yeh (葉寅夫) also expressed optimism on the nation’s LED industry this year and encouraged domestic manufacturers to develop brands now that Taiwan has a complete supply chain covering upstream, midstream and downstream producers.

“LED products made by Taiwanese firms are popular with consumers in China and Taiwan. As demand for LED products is improving, we forecast the LED industry will recover quickly this year,” he said.

Yeh said Everlight had a market share of more than 50 percent in China at the end of last year and that it is continuing to expand its sales distribution channels there to meet increasing domestic demand.

Asked if falling prices of LED bulbs that can replace 60 watt incandescent bulbs would benefit LED firms, Everlight general manager Thomas Lin (林信呈) said that although the decline in prices could boost demand, “firms need to factor in product quality if they decide to enter a price war.”

Meanwhile, the government pledged continued support for the LED lighting sector, with Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Bill Cho (卓士昭) saying the government would assist companies integrating new LED technologies to speed up their transformation.

The ministry last year budgeted NT$2.77 billion (US$92.84 million) for a three-year project to replace mercury vapor or other less efficient street lights with LED lighting fixtures.

Cho said it would save 60 percent of the electricity consumed by conventional lights and cut carbon emissions by 87,500 tonnes a year, while generating NT$4.48 billion for the industry.

Additional reporting by staff writer, with CNA