Taiwan dives into LCD-TVs

A Taiwanese science park says 10 companies will invest US$730 million in a specially zoned area for LCD-TVs.

A major science industrial park in southern Taiwan says it already has commitments from 10 companies to invest NT$24.1 billion (AUD$956 million) in a specially zoned area for the production of LCD-TVs (liquid crystal display televisions), the latest sign Taiwan plans to be a major force in the product segment.

The new zone should also increase competition between Taiwanese and South Korean LCD-TV panel makers, a boon to users because factory investments in both countries have increased output in recent years, pulling down prices. LCD-TVs are also seen as a key component to the digital home, making it an important industry for producers of electronic goods.

The new LCD-TV zone in the southern Taiwan industrial park is aimed at bringing together vital component and material makers to create an efficient area for LCD-TV production, said a government official.

Taiwan's new TFT-LCD zone should create around 30,000 job opportunities for the area, and NT$200 billion in yearly revenue, said Su Huan-Chih, county commissioner of Tainan, Taiwan, where the industrial park is located.

Officials declined to name the companies investing in the area, but said a joint ground-breaking ceremony would be held on Oct. 15, attended by all of the companies.

The Tainan-based science park is already home to a number of large LCD industry players, including Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp., the world's fourth largest LCD screen maker, and several key Japanese and U.S. materials makers have factories there, including New York-based glass maker Corning Inc.

Taiwan overtook South Korea in large area TFT-LCD (thin-film-transistor) panel shipments in the second quarter, with a 45 percent share of the global market, compared to 44.6 percent for South Korea, according to DisplaySearch. The industry researcher has predicted that Taiwan could beat South Korea in overall LCD panel shipments by the end of the year.

Demand for LCD-TV panels jumped 84 percent compared to last year in the second quarter to 6 million units, according to DisplaySearch, thanks to falling prices. The 32-inch panel is now the most popular larger-size screen, the company said.

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Dan Nystedt

IDG News Service

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