Asia Express - Display
Matsushita to Manufacture 8G LCD Panels, AUO Constructs 8.5G LCD Plant
February 22, 2008
Matsushita - soon to be renamed Panasonic this October - recently announced its plan to build its first 8G LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) panel plant with an investment of 300 billion Yen (US$2.8 billion; US$1 = 107.4 Yen). The plant will be built by IPS Alpha, the joint venture formed with Hitachi and Toshiba. Matsushita plans to eventually control up to 95% of IPS Alpha by acquiring the stakes held by Hitachi and Toshiba, according to Financial Times.

Located in Himeji city, Hyogo Prefecture, Western Japan, construction on the new plant is scheduled for August 2008 and mass production for January 2010. Focusing mainly on 32-inch LCD panel production, Matsushita's 8G plant is projected to boost its annual capacity from 30,000 units initially to approximately 15 million units in 2010 and further up to 21 million units in 2013, according to a press release by IPS Alpha.

Taiwan's AUO - one of the major LCD panel contract manufacturers for Matsushita - also announced its plan to build a next-generation LCD plant - likely to be based on 8.5G technology - at the Central Taiwan Science Park, Taiwan's Economic Daily News reported. According to the same report, AUO's first 8.5G plant, expected to start equipment installation by year-end 2008, is slated for mass production in the second half of 2009, aiming to meet the demand for 46- and 50-inch panels. The company's projected investment in the 8.5G production lines is estimated to reach NT$300.8 billion (US$9.6 billion; US$1 = NT$31.3) overall. Further details regarding production capacity were not yet disclosed.