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Taiwan's LED Gurus Optimistic About 2012 Market Outlook

Mar 08, 2012 | By Ken Liu

Taipei, Jan. 30, 2012 (CENS)--Regardless of almost one year of excessive LED-backlight supplies, Taiwan's LED industry gurus are optimistic about 2012 outlook for the LED market, whether it is backlight or lighting application.

Chairman B.J. Lee of Epistar Corp., now the world's No.1 maker of blue LED chips by volume, estimated global shipments of LED light bulbs to double from the 2011 level to 300 million units in 2012 and expected the LED TV penetration rate to surge from 36% to 60%. Based on the brisk market forecasts, Lee forecast the company's shipments of general-lighting chips to shoot up 300% year-on-year in 2012, translating into a 200% gain in revenue.

Lee ascribed disappointed sales of the industry as a whole in 2011 mostly to over-optimism about the 2011 market of LED-lit TVs. He pointed out that industry executives were under illusions that the TV penetration would increase to 50% from 18% last year, giving a boost to over-expansions by LED suppliers.

Oversupply, compounded by improved luminous efficacy of LEDs, sharply brought down prices of the devices, compelling many South Korean LED makers to turn to lighting applications to ease pressure on their backlight inventories.

Lee noted that although spreading low-priced LEDs into the lighting sector would undermine profit margin of the industry, it also helps to advance the arrival of the price points where widespread of LED lights can be triggered.

Industry executives pointed out that, except for makers of premium products, most of Taiwan's LED makers went through loss last year under the circumstance of oversupply. Epistar was among the profit markers, which also included Everlight Electronics Co., Ltd. and Unity Opto Technology Co., Ltd.

Taiwan's industry executives also based the bright 2012 outlook on less expensive TVs lit by LED backlights and effective deadlines for incandescent bulb phase-outs. They pointed out that price gaps between LED and CCFL backlights have drawn further closer in favor of LEDs and advanced economies will begin phasing out incandescent bulbs this year.

Unity Chairman Alpha Wu touted that 2012 would be the year for LED lighting to take off.


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