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  • Taiwan's Optoelectronics Industry Sees Bright Future
  • August 7, 1998 (TAIPEI) -- Taiwan's optoelectronics industry enjoyed faster growth than the information/electronic sector in recent years.
    The field has also been targeted by many Taiwan companies due to its great potential.

    Room for growth is still large for the local sector, since optoelectronics products are still non-mainstream items in the local market.

    Statistics from the Photonics Industry and Technology Development Association show that from 1993 to 1997, the local optoelectronics sector registered an average growth of 34.79 percent, far exceeding the 12.77 percent reported by the local information/electronics sector during the same period of time.

    The sector's output, however, remains low, and it was not until 1996 that it broke the NT$100 billion (US$2.9 billion) benchmark. Local optoelectronics output amounted to NT$164.9 billion last year.

    CD-ROM drives, scanners, liquid-crystal display (LCD), light emitting diodes (LED) and cameras are the top five optoelectronics products in Taiwan.

    Facsimile machines, sunglasses, CD-ROMs and other optoelectonics components are also major products of the local optoelectronics sector.

    The major characteristic of the local optoelectronics industry is its heavy dependence on imported key components.

    Taiwan's technology in key components for digital still cameras, charge-coupled devices (CCD) or motors and optical pick-up heads for DVD players still lags behind that of the United States and Japan.

    Therefore, Taiwan manufacturers' development of new products has been very much controlled by the attitude and moves of Japanese and U.S. technology suppliers.

    As a result, Taiwan is not likely to see much room for development in this area until the U.S. and Japanese heavyweights withdraw from the markets after profit margins slide.

    That is the case, for example, with Taiwan's entry into the markets for twisted nematic LCDs and super-twisted nematic LCDs.

    Therefore, Taiwan still faces the challenge of developing its own key components if it wants to change the pattern and witness faster growth in optoelectronics manufacturing.

    (Commercial Times, Taiwan)

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    Updated: Thu Aug 6 19:38:35 1998