Taiwan remains top LED manufacturer by revenue

Taiwan was the leading LED-producing country during 2011, according to estimates, and has also recently unveiled a collaboration to promote the use of LEDs in agriculture.

Taiwan’s LED industry remained the world’s largest by revenue in 2011, according to estimates from the country’s Photonics Industry & Technology Development Association (PIDA). According to an article on the Taiwan Economic News website, PIDA estimated that the 2011 revenue was US$4.53 billion.

However, this figure represents a drop of around 0.4% compared with 2010, due mainly to the weak economies in the United States and the Euro zone.

In comparison, PIDA estimated that South Korea’s LED industry had revenues of US$3.35 billion in 2011, up around 5% from 2010.

PIDA said that South Korean LED manufacturers have “vigorously branched out into the lighting sector with low-priced products,” but they lack the production scale to compete effectively with Taiwan’s manufacturers. Companies from the two countries compete strongly in the areas of LED epi-wafers and packaged LEDs.

They are also starting to compete in LED street-lighting applications, propelled by optimistic roll-out plans being implemented by the federal governments in both Taiwan and South Korea. Work has begun in Gwangju, the sixth largest city in South Korea. PIDA says that 90,000 LED-based street lights have been installed so far.

PIDA also quoted an analyst of Hanwha Securities, who estimated that if South Korea switches all of its 2.7 million street lights to LEDs, this would create a market valued at around 2 trillion Won ($1.74 billion).

Meanwhile, following a widespread conversion to LED traffic signals, the Taiwanese government has allocated significant resources to the installation of LED street lights. These announcements are in addition to the NT$180 million (US$6 million) already spent on the installations in Keelung, Hsinchu and Jiayi cities.

PIDA says that the global LED industry had an estimated total revenue of US$16.6 billion in 2011, up 2.6% from 2010. The fastest growth was seen in mainland China, with 26% growth, while the market in Europe fell by 7.3% to US$1.6 billion.

ITRI promotes LED use in agriculture

In related news, Taiwan’s Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) has formed an alliance to expand the use of LEDs in the country’s agriculture sector.

An article on the Taiwan Today website says that ITRI will collaborate with more than 70 electronic enterprises, farms and biotech companies to help cultivate high-value products.

Chu Mu-tao, director of the Optoelectronics Device and System Applications Division in ITRI’s Electronics and Optoelectronics Research Laboratories, said that LED lamps can reduce electricity consumption in farms. “Under a program employing LEDs on white mushrooms in central Taiwan’s Nantou County, a grower saw his annual electricity fees drop from NT$150,000 (US$4,950) in 2009 to NT$60,000 in 2010,” he said.

Further LED installations are planned for asparagus farms, livestock farms and grouper fisheries in other cities and counties.

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