Driven by market demand for LCD TV sets and notebook monitors, Taiwan's overall opto-electronic industry is predicted to gain 15 percent growth to US$40.9 billion in production value for 2006.
TFT-LCD manufacturing and other flat panel display sectors will continue with their bright performance to account for US$26.9 billion (up 20 percent from 2005) of the overall total production value this year, according to a forecast report yesterday by Taiwan's PIDA (Photonics Industry & Technology Development Association) analyst Murphy Lin.
Lin said maintaining steady growth of between 13 to 15 percent is expected for the local opto-electronic industry in the coming years, and the main global suppliers of TFT-LCD manufacturing would still be located in Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea.
Taiwan's TFT-LCD production is dominated by the five industry giants of Chi Mei Optoelectronics, AUO, Quanta Display, Chunghwa Picture Tube, and HannStar, and they are also locally known as the "five tigers of display panel."
"The giants will take the lion's share of the LCD TV market supply in the coming years. They are also moving into panel display production of other sizes, such as for notebook and PC monitors. The big players will get bigger and squeeze out the smaller manufacturers," said Lin at a PIDA press briefing yesterday.
He said, "We expect a period of consolidation and merger in the display panel sector starting this year. There are going to be joint partnerships and collaborations between the leading manufacturers, to head off the challenge from South Korea and Japan. Also some companies are getting out of the plasma display panel and other non-performing products due to technical issues."
The PIDA forecast report indicated that other areas of Taiwan's opto-electronic industry would also have positive growth this year, with the optical storage sector (CD-ROM, DVD, CD-R disc) in second place to reach a production value of US$ 7.5 billion in 2006.
These are followed by the optical input and output devices (digital camera, scanner, photocopier) sector with a forecast of US$3.0 billion to the end of this year; along with opto-electronic components (LED lighting) at US$ 2.1 billion, optical components and laser applications (for laser and optical device) at US$967 million.
Lin stated that Taiwan has the competitive advantage and is taking the lead in a number of opto-electronic developments.
Compiled statistics to the end of 2005 indicated that Taiwan ranks among the world's top three suppliers in eight important opto-electronic products and services: TFT-LCD panel, digital still camera, scanner, optical disc drive, organic LED, visible lighting LED packaging, STN (super-twisted-nematic)-LCD, along with CD-R and DVD-R discs.