LG.Philips LCD broke ground on a new factory in Wroclaw, Poland, on Wednesday that will produce display modules for flat-panel televisions, the company said Thursday.
The plant will take liquid crystal display (LCD) panels produced at a factory in South Korea and add more components including backlights and driver chips to produce a finished LCD module. The finished modules are then ready to be combined with other components such as tuners, power supplies and cases to form finished televisions.
The new plant is scheduled to begin mass production in March 2007 and will have an initial capacity of 3 million modules per year, said LG.Philips. The plant is expected to hit full capacity of 11 million modules per year by 2011.
By locating the plant in Europe, LG.Philips hopes to achieve cost and time savings and improve its competitiveness in the European television market.
It’s not the only company thinking this way. Already this year, two Japanese TV makers have announced plans to build similar LCD module plants in East Europe.
Sharp said in April that it will spend 44 million euros (US$55.5 million) to build a module plant in Poland. The plant is expected to begin operation in January 2007 at a capacity of 100,000 modules per month. A month later in May, IPS Alpha Technology, a joint venture between Hitachi Displays, Matsushita Electric Industrial (Panasonic) and Toshiba, said it has begun discussions with the government of the Czech Republic regarding an LCD module production plant in that country.
Demand for flat-panel televisions is rising fast as prices fall.
There were 19.6 million LCD TVs shipped in 2005, according to iSuppli. The market research company estimates this will rise by a compound annual growth rate of 54 percent per year until 2009 to reach 61.2 million units.
-Martyn Williams, IDG News Service (Tokyo Bureau)
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