AU Optronics Corp (友達光電) is planning to expand capacity amid strong demand for high-end display panels used in premium notebook computers and monitors during the post-COVID-19 pandemic period, the company said yesterday.
The firm plans to boost capacity at its sixth-generation plant in Kunshan, China, to about 36,000 sheets per month from 27,000 sheets, AU Optronics said, adding that the expansion would be ready in the third quarter of next year.
The NT$50 billion (US$1.76 billion at the current exchange rate) plant, built in 2016, was design to be expandable to 45,000 sheets per month, the firm said.
Photo: Chen Mei-ying, Taipei Times
The facility manufactures power-efficient low-temperature polysilicon flat panels for premium notebook computers and monitors targeting online gamers, it added.
“Demand for high-end monitors with a curved display has been rising not only based on gaming demand amid the pandemic, but also due to many people who will continue working from home in the post-pandemic period,” AU Optronics president Frank Ko (柯富仁) told reporters on the sidelines of a news conference ahead of the annual Touch Taiwan trade show, which is to take place at the Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center for three days from Wednesday next week.
The company is also to allocate manufacturing capacity for panels used in notebook computers and monitors, Ko said.
This would result in a capacity increase, he said, without elaborating.
AU Optronics’ board of directors last month approved capital expenditures of NT$455 million for technology and capacity optimization and adjustments.
The firm’s factories are to be fully utilized until next quarter, Ko said, adding that it cannot serve all orders.
Supply of key components would further deteriorate this quarter compared with the past two quarters, Ko said.
In addition to a persistent IC supply shortage, supply has tightened for materials and components from display glass substrates to printed circuit boards and polarizers, he said.
“The supply constraints prevail through the whole flat-panel industry supply chains,” Ko said, adding that component and material supply cycles extended to eight weeks from four weeks before the pandemic.
Component prices are also rising, Ko said, adding that panel makers have increased prices to reflect higher manufacturing costs.
Glass supplier Corning Inc last month said that it would increase glass prices moderately this quarter due to higher logistics, energy, raw material and other operational expenses due to a glass shortage.
The prices of notebook computers panels climbed 2.7 percent month-on-month this month, outpacing the uptick of 2 percent for 55-inch TV panels and 1.2 percent for 27-inch monitors, market researcher TrendForce Corp (集邦科技) said.
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