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(Japanese Site)

  • Japan TFT-LCD Makers Push Production Equipment in Taiwan
  • March 17, 1998 (TAIPEI) -- As more Taiwan companies start producing thin-film transistor liquid-crystal displays (TFT- LCDs), many Japanese suppliers are promoting their TFT-LCD manufacturing equipment in an effort to cash in on what they see as a lucrative business opportunity.
    Taiwan is widely expected to become a key producer of these products in the near future.

    To date, seven local companies, including Chung Hwa Picture Tubes Ltd., Unipac Optoelectronics Corp., Walsin Lihwa Corp., Prime View International Co., Ltd., and Chi Mei Corp., have begun producing or announced plans to produce TFT-LCDs.

    Japan's Toshiba Corp. says that Chung Hwa Picture Tubes is moving faster than its competitors in terms of capital investment, and has already purchased the third generation of TFT-LCD manufacturing equipment.

    With the exception of Chung Hwa, Taiwan producers are each expected to purchase an average NT$20 billion (US$617 million) worth of equipment in 1998, or a total of NT$120 billion.

    Toshiba, which currently holds an 80 percent share of the global market for TFT-LCD production equipment, said it will strengthen its presence on the island in order to consolidate its market share.

    Japanese suppliers have also increasingly been seen delivering TFT-LCD manufacturing technology to Taiwan makers. Chung Hwa and Walsin Lihwa, for instance, have obtained technology transfers from Mitsubishi and Toshiba, respectively.

    This is in part an effort to promote sales of their equipment on the island, and in part an effort to share the market with Taiwan manufacturers.

    A Japanese official in the industry explained that the setup of a TFT-LCD facility is very expensive.

    Building a factory, purchasing equipment, and hiring personnel costs a minimum of NT$20 billion, plus an extra NT$10 billion is needed in liquid funds.

    In addition, the vicious price-slashing moves of South Korean makers last year took their toll on Japanese producers. These companies reportedly decided that the risks were too great, and that they would be better off sharing production technology with their Taiwan partners.

    (Commercial Times, Taiwan)

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    Updated: Mon Mar 16 21:39:03 1998