Corning postpones new substrate plant operation at Central Taiwan Science Park

Corning Inc. of the United States has resolved to postpone mass production at its new glass-substrate plant in Central Taiwan Science Park (CTSP) by one quarter, making supplies remain tight of glass substrates to local makers of TFT-LCD panels.

Industry sources said, however, that the substrate supply tension can serve to prevent local makers from rapidly boosting capacities at their new-generation panel plants, thus indirectly helping maintain panel prices at reasonable levels.

According to some local makers of large-sized TFT-LCD panels, Corning's construction of a new substrate plant in CTSP was undermined by torrential falls caused by Typhoon Haitang, which hit the island in mid-July. This made the new plant fail to become operational as scheduled in the third quarter.

Corning Glass Taiwan's spokeswoman Chou Hsiu-fang claimed, however, that the construction of the firm's CTSP plant is now faring smoothly, and the new facility will begin supplying large-sized substrates by the end of the year. The firm will also continue boosting the production efficiency of its existing plant in Southern Taiwan Science Park (STSP), according to Chou.

Except for HannStar Display Corp., Taiwan's No. 5 maker of large-sized TFT-LCD panels, all the top-five makers of large-sized TFT-LCD panels have signed long-term substrate supply agreements with Corning, including (in sequence) AU Optronics Corp. (AUO), Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp. (CMO), Chunghwa Picture Tubes, Ltd. (CPT), and Quanta Display Inc.

Industry sources pointed out that the capacity at Corning's CTSP substrate facility would be over two times that of its STSP plant.

Currently, Corning is the world's largest supplier of TFT-LCD glass substrates with a global market share of over 50 percent, and is the world's only stable and big-volume supplier of 6G and -beyond substrates, the sources said.

The sources noted that both AUO's 6G and CMO's 5.5G panel plants would greatly increase production volumes of panels, while CPT and Quanta's 6G facilities would also enter a trial-production stage in the second half and begin mass production in the fourth quarter this year or early next year.

600450 Corning postpones new substrate plant operation at Central Taiwan Science Park
Date: 5 August 2005

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