Taiwan boosts LED street-lighting program, BLU market goes flat

Dec. 20, 2011
Taiwan’s Premier Wu Den-yih has approved an LED street-lighting project valued at NT$2 billion, while PIDA has reported that the LED backlight module market in Taiwan is flat.
Taiwan Premier Wu Den-yih has approved a project valued at NT$2 billion ($66 million), which will be used to help local governments install 250,000 LED street lamps in place of existing mercury vapor lamps, according to the Taiwan News. Once installed, the energy savings will amount to 110 million kWh or the elimination of 67,500 metric tons of CO2 emissions.

This announcement follows an earlier announcement last month by Shih Yen-shiang of Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), of a NT$700 million ($23.25 million) project that will involve the replacement of 53,000 street lamps with LED lamps.

The new projects, along with a similar program that was previously launched, will involve LED street lights across the country's five special municipalities, 11 counties and three cities in Taiwan proper as well as three offshore islands. The projects are expected to generate a total production value of NT$4.48 billion ($150 million) for LED-related industries.

Taiwan’s LED backlight module revenues flat

Meanwhile, according to statistics supplied by Taiwan’s Photonics Industry & Technology Development Association (PIDA), weak demand for LED backlight modules in 2011 is expected to result in flat revenues for this important LED market segment compared with last year. The total production value of the top 10 LED wafer and chip manufacturers in Taiwan is projected to reach NT$47 billion ($1.55 billion) for 2011, 1% lower than the 2010 level.

PIDA says that the backlighting market is responding to lower-than-expected demand for LCD TVs, inventory pressures, surplus LED volumes and TV pricing pressure. In addition, Korean LCD-TV makers have focused significantly on reducing the cost of LED backlight modules, while the modules themselves are requiring fewer LED chips per set, affecting revenues and profits of LED chip makers.

Although many LED chip manufacturers have shifted their production to LEDs for general-purpose lighting, some companies that rely more heavily on backlights, including wafer manufacturer Epistar and chip maker Formosa Epitaxy, are suffering from the poor market conditions in LED backlights.

PIDA researchers further suggested that the holiday shopping demand is not likely to alter the flat market for LED backlight modules.