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Chinese group to buy US$4.5 bil. in local flat panels

A Chinese procurement group plans to give Taiwan US$4.5 billion in flat panel orders this year, the group's members said yesterday, an amount that would be about 12 percent above the actual value of orders purchased in 2011.

The orders were confirmed in letters of intent that eight major Chinese electronic companies signed separately with two Taiwanese panel makers, Chimei Innolux Corp. and AU Optronics Corp., yesterday.

Because the commitment is considered to be more of a projection than a firm purchase order, the actual amount purchased by the Chinese group could fall below the targeted figures, as has been the case over the past three years.

This year's targeted order value is about 20 percent lower than last year's projection of US$5.5 billion because of slumping panel prices and slowing TV demand in China, said group member Bai Weimin, deputy director of the China Video Industry Association.

But Bai said this year's projected volume of 30 million units is higher than the 26 million units actually purchased in 2011.

The China Video Industry Association is currently in Taiwan to attend the 2012 Photonics Festival and the 14th International Flat Panel Display Exposition (Display Taiwan), where a total of NT$48 billion of business opportunities may be generated, organizers said.

According to co-organizer Photonics Industry & Technology Development Association (PIDA), there are 1,525 booths and 616 exhibitors participating in the Photonics Festival, while Display Taiwan has 204 exhibitors using 473 booths. Together there are 820 exhibitors using 2,018 booths, and visitors are expected to exceed 40,000.

Among the participants of the photonics festival are local and international heavyweights including Aixtron, Edmund Optics, as well as Nalux, all of which will display their latest technology.

Over 250 local and foreign LED makers are also taking part in the show, among them CHIA, Osram and Delta.

Of note, the Council of Agriculture is displaying a variety of solutions to facilitate farmers. One of them is an LED incubation device that expedites plant growth and helps farmers save on energy and cost, PIDA said.

As for Display Taiwan, organizers have invited some 20 heavyweight international buyers including Panasonic, Hitachi, Toshiba, and Future Electronics who will procure things from Taiwan suppliers.

According to PIDA, Taiwan's flat panel industry is expected to see total production value of NT$1 trillion this year, thanks to surging popularity of tablet PCs, Ultrabook PCs and smartphones.

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