Innolux, Hon Hai flat panel venture to open in Q1 2016


TAIPEI — A 6th-generation small screen joint venture between flat panel supplier Innolux Corp. (群創) and Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. (鴻海), the world’s largest contract electronics maker, will begin mass production in the first quarter of next year.

Kuo Cheng-sha, a manager with Innolux, said equipment is currently being installed in the new plant, located in Luchu district in Kaohsiung, and is expected to churn out value-added low temperature poly-silicon (LTPS) screens next year.

In June, Innolux Vice President Ting Ching-lung said the LTPS plant will specialize in screens for smartphones and is aimed at helping Hon Hai carve out a bigger share of the world’s smartphone market.

Hon Hai is one of the major shareholders of Innolux, and both sides have worked with each other closely in panel production. Due to a non-disclosure agreement, however, Innolux declined to reveal the financial terms of the Kaohsiung joint venture.

Adjacent to the LTPS panel plant, an 8.6-generation flat screen plant that will produce large-sized displays for TV use is also under construction. The factory is scheduled to kick off commercial production in the third quarter of next year, Kuo said.

He said Innolux is currently focused on large-sized screens for ultra-high definition 4K2K TV production but intends to take aim at more advanced 8K4K TV production catering initially to the Japanese market and then to the Chinese market.

At present, Innolux accounts for more than 50 percent of all 4K2K panel shipments worldwide, according to Kuo.

Kuo made the comments on the sidelines of the 2015 International Touch Panel and Optical Film Exhibition, also known as Touch Taiwan, which kicked off Wednesday and will run through Friday at the Nangang Exhibition Hall in Taipei.

At the event, AU Optronics Corp. (AUO, 友達) Chairman Paul Peng (彭雙浪) said the global flat panel industry is unlikely to see visible peak season effects in the second half of this year, but his company still hopes to improve its bottom line despite the unfavorable circumstances.

AUO is a rival of Innolux.

Peng said AUO will continue to upgrade its production technology to boost profit margins rather than pursue an increase in shipments.

At the opening ceremony of Touch Taiwan, Economic Affairs Minister John Deng (鄧振中) said the ministry will push for a common specification platform for flat panel suppliers across the Taiwan Strait, a move which is expected to increase cooperation between Taiwan and China.

Despite increasing cross-strait cooperation, Deng said the ministry will continue to take steps to improve the local investment environment and prevent a brain drain in a bid to encourage Taiwanese flat panel firms to stay in Taiwan rather than relocate to China.