Taiwan Hoya to set up LCD panel, color filter photo mask plant at Hsinchu Science Park

Dec 31, 2003 Ι Industry In-Focus Ι Electronics and Computers Ι By Quincy, CENS
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Taipei, Dec. 31, 2003 (CENS)--Taiwan Hoya Optoelectronics Co., a subsidiary of Hoya Corp. of Japan, the world's largest maker of liquid crystal display (LCD) photo masks, recently announced that it has won permission from the Hsinchu Science Park (HSP) Administration to rent a 2.3-hetares land in HSP's Chunan plant complex.

Taiwan Hoya said that it would set up a plant in Chunan, which is scheduled to begin mass production of large-size photo masks for the production of thin film transistor (TFT)-LCD panels and color filters in the second half of 2004.

Taiwan Hoya was founded with an initial capitalization of NT$200 million (US$5.87 million at US$1: NT$34.1), which will be increased to NT$500 million (US$14.66 million) and finally to NT$1.5 billion (US$43.99 million). Taiwan Hoya is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hoya Japan, with chairman and president assigned by its Japanese parent.

Industry sources said that Taiwan Hoya is the second LCD photo mask maker to set up a plant in the HSP, following local Allied Integrated Patterning Corp., a subsidiary of Allied Material Technology Corp.

The sources said that Taiwan defeated South Korea to have Hoya, which currently accounts for about 60% of the global supply of LCD photo masks, set up the photo mask plant on the island as a Taiwanese investment-solicitation delegation, led by Taiwan's Economic Minister Lin Yi-fu, visited Japan in September and successfully persuaded the Japanese firm into investing in Taiwan. Hoya's photo mask investment, the sources added, is very important in helping constitute a comprehensive supply chain in the island's TFT-LCD panel industry.

HSP Administration investment division director Chen Ming-huang said that Taiwan Hoya's investment project was okayed at a cross-ministry reviewing meeting. HSP would allocate a 2.3-hectare land to Taiwan Hoya for the production of large-size photo masks for over 520mm x 800mm LCD panels and over 800mm x 920mm color filters.

According to local LCD panel makers, the quality requirement for photo mask has been growing with the increasing panel sizes. The panel makers said that the market value of TFT-LCD photo mask products is expected to reach NT$7 billion to NT$8 billion (US$202.28 million to US$234.6 million) in 2005, but the local suppliers' capacity would still fall short of the demand.

The Industrial Development and Investment Center (IDIC) of MOEA said that the island's demand for photo mask technology is rapidly rising amid the aggressive establishment of fifth- and higher-generation panel facilities by local panel suppliers. A senior IDIC official said that Taiwan Hoya's investment project is expected to further assure the supply of large-sized photo masks to local panel makers' new-generation facilities, greatly shorten the delivery time of panel products, and directly provide needed technology and design support for the cooperation projects between local panel makers and their Japanese partners.
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