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WiMAX to boost Taiwan's wireless growth

Posted: 16 Jan 2007     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:consumer electronics  communications  Taiwan display market 

In 2007, Taiwan's display, communication and consumer electronics industries delivered many surprises. Its flat-panel display industry, which was driven by HDTV, progressed steadily. Taiwan manufacturers have taken the global market share with its 40-inch LCD TV production. It has also launched new display technologies with higher contrast (5,000:1). With global TV digitalisation approaching, the future looks bright for the entire display industry.

Surprisingly, three of the top four products—mobile phone, Bluetooth, WLAN—in Taiwan wireless communications are experiencing a downturn since 1H 07. Meanwhile, GPS keeps on growing. Observing the products' performances last year gives us a better understanding of market changes and a better view of future development trend.

Going mainstream
Due to the growth of flat-panel TV with digital tuner, HDTV and DTV (driven by the local government), last year's global DTV shipment has exceeded 10 crore units. According to DisplaySearch, the next couple of years will see double-digit annual growth rates.

High definition has become a basic function for all digital display products. From a large-size TV to the mobile phone display, HD is the most prevalent application. Answering the demand for a more vivid display, HDTV became a dark horse. In addition, major global panel suppliers have enhanced their production capabilities, thus quickly decreasing HDTV price and further boosting consumer purchases.

The average price reduction of HDTV has reached 40 per cent. DisplaySearch reported that as the price of 720p LCD TV rapidly falls, 1,080p HDTV is expected to become the mainstream in the LCD TV market by 2008. Thus, there will be a push to HDTV program development and an increase in sales of next-generation HD DVD players, since all analogue TV products will be recalled in 2009. DisplaySearch's report also shows that the sales of next-generation HD DVD players is expected to increase from last year's 10 lakh units to 5o lakh units this year.

Among all display technologies, LCD TV has remained the main display technology application in 2007. Along with the global development of large-size panel market, 40-inch and 42-inch panels will become the mainstream LCD TV model this year and will take the market share from PDP TV, boosting the panel shipment volume and G7.5 technology.

According to Market Intelligence Center (MIC), AU Optronics Corp. (AUO), Chi Mei Optoelectronics (CMO) and other Taiwan panel manufacturers also have ceaselessly developed panels using G7.5 fabs, revving up the shipment volume of 40-inch LCD panels. MIC predicted that Taiwan's 40-inch and 42-inch panel products would take up to 30 per cent of the market share worldwide.

In addition, making display technologies that are environmentally sound, feature higher contrast and compact has become a trend among panel makers in Taiwan. AUO has launched a 32-inch extra-slim TV panel adopting the third-generation AMVA technology. Energy-efficient, the 20mm thick panel has a contrast ratio of 5,000:1. The company's 4.3-inch in-cell embedded multipoint touch-control panel will be in mass production this year.

AUO has unveiled Taiwan's first 65-inch FHD 120Hz LCD TV display.

Based on the "double-sided COG + WOA" technology, CMO's extra-slim 13.3-inch notebook computer panel exhibits the Clear Motion II technology with animation response time of 5ms and "Chameleon" technology's LED high-color background light. Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd, on the other hand, has launched the first DisplayPort direct drive display, 15.4-inch touch-panel screen, 3D display and other innovative technologies.

Wireless world
The mobile phone industry has always been the biggest contributor to the growth of wireless communication production in Taiwan since its volume production. For the first time, however, Taiwan's mobile phone shipment volume declined last year. In 1H 07, the production dipped close to 40 per cent.

According to Industrial Economics & Knowledge Center (IEK), the entire communication device production value in Taiwan is expected to reach Rs.88,068.74 crore (NT$722.9 billion) in 2007, with wireless communication cornering Rs.1,878.57 crore (NT$15.42 billion). In 1H 07, however, the wireless communication market suffered a shipment volume decline (13.7 per cent) due to the sharp drop in mobile phone shipment volume. For 2H 07, IEK predicted the market would slightly increase by 7.6 per cent.

The wired broadband market has grown a lot too last year, catering to diversified multimedia stream demands. According to IEK, the 2007 wired broadband device production value is expected to top Rs.852.79 crore (NT$7 billion). IEK reported that for 1H 07, the production value was Rs.393.50 crore (NT$3.23 billion) (a growth rate of 17.8 per cent), while the projected production value for 2H is Rs.458.07 crore (NT$3.76 billion), with cable terminals and IP phone service expected to boost demand.

In full swing
Meanwhile, the government-led WiMAX network infrastructure is in full swing, and is expected to boost Taiwan's wireless industry growth this year. IEK has reported that WiMAX production value in 2007 is about Rs.19.37 crore (NT$159 million), with an annual growth rate of 604 per cent. IEK has also pointed out that many major WiMAX operators have transferred from pilot network to commercial usage in 2H 07. Several Taiwan manufacturers had received orders from telecommunication device suppliers, including Motorola, Alcatel, Alvarion and SR telecom, greatly benefiting the emerging WiMAX industry of the country.

The broadband devices (wired and wireless) played the most important role in last year's communication field, addressing the growing demand of the consumer electronic industry for processing more multimedia audio/video transfer. Today's communication technologies are gradually forming an infrastructure platform that can cross over heterogeneous networks and offer powerful transfer capability for various applications. Such demands will push the development for Taiwan's broadband communication industry this year and onwards.

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