Banking on the growing momentum of flat-panel television sales, the nation's leading home appliance makers, Sampo Corp (聲寶) and Taiwan Kolin Co (歌林), are both gearing up to grab a larger slice of the market next year.
"Prices of panels have shown a stable decline of 10-15 percent this year, compared with the sharper 30 percent drop of the previous few years. This has prompted more consumers to cast off their wait-and-see mindset and get one of these TVs," Leo Liu (劉坤旺), executive vice president of Sampo, told reporters yesterday.
According to Liu, the liquid-crystal-display (LCD) TV market in Taiwan will grow to around 350,000 units next year, up from this year's 250,000 units. The plasma-display-panel (PDP) TV market, however, will remain flat at around 60,000 units next year.
The flat-panel TV sector consists of LCD and PDP TVs.
Strong consumer demand has resulted in a panel shortage this quarter, and the situation is set to continue over the next three months, he added.
According to Peter Chen (陳盛旺), vice president of the electronics device business unit, exports of Sampo LCD TVs are set to reach around 150,000 units next year, with plasma TVs hitting 100,000 units.
On the local front, the company aims to increase its share in the flat-panel market to 15 percent next year from 12.5 percent this year, which will then turn it into the No. 1 player, he added.
Currently, Matsushita Electric Industrial, which sells electronics under the Panasonic brand, leads in the local flat-panel TV segment, with Sampo coming in second. Kolin and Teco Electric & Machinery Co (東元) are both fighting for the No. 3 spot.
In a move to secure a larger share of the market, Sampo is banking on small-sized portable flat panel TVs next year, with varieties ranging from 3.5-10.2 inches.
Ideal for home entertainment and automobiles, these mobile TVs will be mass produced in the next quarter and will mainly be targeted at European markets, Chen said.
However, Kolin said it will not follow suit in trying to capture the portable TV market.
"Portable TVs compete directly with notebook computers and the market size is limited. We will continue to focus our efforts on larger LCD TVs in a bid to outmuscle others in the market," Steven Chen (陳世明), deputy general manager of the sales division, said on the sidelines of a product launch yesterday.
This was the reasoning behind the company's decision to withdraw from the portable TV market in the first half of last year, he added.
The efforts at pushing larger LCD TVs have been fruitful as its 32-inch models now contribute 30 percent to overall revenues, with products 37-inches and above making up another 30 percent.
The LCD TV segment, with the US as its largest market, has accounted for 50 percent of Kolin's total sales this year. It is forecast to grow to 60 percent next year, doubling this year's shipments to hit 600,000 units, he added.
"As plasma TVs still have unresolved technical issues, such as a shorter life cycle, high power consumption and high temperatures, we will opt to dedicate more resources to producing LCD TVs in order to achieve further growth," he said.
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