The substrate price is expected to further drop in the first quarter of 2006, the senior analyst said, as AGC begins shipment of 6G substrates
AGC was unable to mass-supply 5G and -beyond substrates in the past due to problems with the company's glass formula and polishing process, making Corning become the sole substrate supplier in the 5G business and pushing up prices of 5G and newer substrates to high levels. After AGC kicks off delivery of 6G substrates in early 2006, Wang said, prices are expected to go down
According to Wang, panel makers have little chance to bargain about the prices for 5G substrates, but they will have more leeway to bargain with 6G panel substrates, as the production volumes will be higher
Currently, Asahi Glass Fine Techno Taiwan Co. Ltd. (AFT), AGC's local subsidiary, does not have a 6G polishing line, but it does have plans to install one, which will greatly benefit local panel suppliers
In addition, Corning just announced that its new plant in central Taiwan's Taichung has begun shipment and is scheduled to hold an inauguration in January 2006. Corning also recently decided to pour an additional US$425 million into expanding the capacity at its Taichung facility, bringing the American company's total investment in the facility to US$1.5 billion
AFT recently also broke ground for the company's second plant, where it will install its third and fourth furnaces and three polishing lines, for the production of 5G-beyond substrates.