Rebecca Kuo, Tainan; Rodney Chan, DIGITIMES [Wednesday 23 July 2008]
While the LCD panel industry is seeing its players delaying equipment installation for their 6G plants because of weak demand, AU Optronics (AUO) and Chi Mei Optoelectronics (CMO) have not changed their schedules for equipment move-in at their 8.5G lines, according to sources at TFT LCD equipment suppliers.
The sources explained that initial capacity at AUO and CMO's 8.5G plants will be low. However, the two biggest panel makers in Taiwan will not want to lose out to foreign competitors in the race to next-generation production, and therefore need their 8.5G plants to ramp up production as scheduled, the sources commented.
CMO has already reduced its utilization rate to 90%, while AUO has been said to have followed suit by cutting utilization by 10%. Chunghwa Picture Tubes (CPT) vice president James Wu confirmed today (July 22) that the company has already cut its output 10%.
While lowering their utilization rates, panel makers are also considering slowing their 6G expansion, the sources said. Panel makers are now in talks with equipment suppliers for a delay in the installation of equipment at their 6G lines, the sources revealed.
Citing CMO as an example, the sources said the maker initially planned to ramp up its 6G capacity to 80,000 substrates by the end of 2008, but it now wants to delay the installation of equipment for a capacity of 10,000 substrates.