Asia Express - East Asian ICT
Display - Helix to Head into Small Panel Production
November 11, 2004
Taiwanese backlight module maker Helix Technology has mapped out a way to cut into the small and mid-size TFT LCD (Thin-Film Transistor Liquid Crystal Display) panel production, targeting mainly for the mobile handset segment. The company has allocated NT$1 billion (US$30.2 million; US$1= NT$33.1) to procure a used second generation or 2.5 generation line from Japan in 2005. Helix is to ship one million units per month to Japanese small size panel channel player, Marubeni, starting in early 2006. It is also looking for technology transfer from other Japanese panel makers.


Global Display Technology (Suzhou), Helix's invested company in China, is already outputting small size backlight modules. As a next step, the Chinese subsidiary will accept investment from Marubeni to manufacture small and mid-size panel modules, for which Marubeni will undertake sales. Sintek, another subsidiary, is capable of providing the small size CFs (Color Filters) needed in the new production line.


Low sales in Helix's backlight module business was the main reason for its move into the small panel and module production. However, operations in its backlight production will continue.


AUO, Prime View, and Toppoly are currently the three major players in the Taiwanese small and medium size panel industry. Apart from Helix, Chi Mei, CPT, and Hannstar are also moving aggressively into the blooming market.