Cree to open LED chip production facility in China

Cree has signed an agreement to increase in its manufacturing presence in Huizhou, China, with its first overseas chip facility.

LED maker Cree, Inc. has agreed to purchase a 592,000-square-foot facility in Huizhou, Guangdong Province, China, which will be the company's first chip-production facility outside of North America.

More than half of Cree’s employees work in China, mostly at the current Huizhou factory. The new facility will also house future expansion of components manufacturing.

A Cree spokesperson explained that the company's existing facility in Huizhou is used primarily for LED packaging, and was acquired when Cree bought Cotco, a Hong Kong-base LED maker (see News).

The new facility will be used to make high-brightness and lighting-class LED chips. Production is likely to commence in mid-to-late 2010. Epitaxial wafer growth will not be carried out at the new plant.

“This investment enables us to expand our presence in China and demonstrates our commitment to serving the growing demands of both our local and global LED customers,” said Chuck Swoboda, Cree chairman and CEO.

“We are building on a solid foundation in Huizhou with a strong local management team and a history of manufacturing excellence. We look forward to continued success in China as we drive the LED lighting revolution.”

Cree recognizes the support of Party Secretary YeBin Huang and Mayor RuQiu Li during the site selection process.

“We are very excited to have Cree’s investment in our city. Solid state lighting is a key strategic green industry for China. From the government’s perspective, we will do our best to support Cree through government projects as well as government policies. We believe this investment will be a win-win project for Cree and China’s SSL industry,” said YeBin Huang.

Huizhou joins LED City® program

Cree also announced that Huizhou is joining the Cree LED City® program, an international initiative aimed at promoting the deployment of energy-efficient LED lighting. Huizhou has completed several LED streetlight trials and is in the process of deploying LED streetlights in the ZhongKai Hightech Industrial Zone.

“We are very proud to be the first city in southern China to join the Cree LED City program. Energy saving and emission reduction are our city’s priorities for sustainable development; we will continue to drive the adoption of the SSL products through government initiatives,” said Huizhou Mayor RuQiu Li.

Cree lamps selected by Walmart

Cree will provide LRP-38 LED lamps to Walmart for new stores and renovations (see press release). Walmart plans to install Cree's PAR38-style LED lamps in 650 stores during the first year, replacing ceramic metal halide in the produce and electronics departments. Cree’s LR6 recessed LED downlights are also being used in new construction applications.

Cree says that the unique design of the LRP-38 also reduces glare for customers, focusing attention on the merchandise and not the lighting. “Cree TrueWhite™ Technology delivers high-quality light, making food and merchandise attractive, which we believe enhances the customer’s experience,” said Neal Hunter, Cree LED Lighting president.

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